Statutory Aggravation by Religious Prejudice in Scotland: Correcting the ‘The Lord Advocate’s Lacuna’

Philip Bruce Glover

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Following on from the identification in August 2016 by the Lord Advocate of a lacuna in the provisions of s74 Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2003 (aggravation by religious prejudice) evident in the prosecution and conviction of Tanveer Ahmed for the murder of Asad Shah, this article critically examines the provision within the wider Scottish legal framework regulating aggravations by prejudice. It argues that, whereas other forms of aggravation by prejudice require the victim to have been perceivable by the offender as being a member of a wider 'group', the sui generis nature of religious expression available under the ECHR Article 9 means that individuals expressing their personal religious beliefs, whether or not members of a wider group, require Scots law's protection. As the law stands, individual protection for victims such as Asad Shah is not in place.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-105
Number of pages18
JournalJuridical Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jun 2017



  • Aggravation
  • Prejudice
  • religious
  • Tanveer
  • Ahmed
  • Asad
  • Shah
  • Lord Advocate
  • lacuna
  • statutory aggravation
  • religious prejudice

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