First Minister's Advisory Group on Human Rights Leadership
First Minister's Advisory Group on Human Rights Leadership

About us

The First Minister’s Advisory Group on Human Rights Leadership was set up by Scotland’s First Minister to make recommendations on how Scotland can continue to lead by example in the field of human rights. This includes economic, social, cultural and environmental rights. Operating independently from the Scottish Government, we published our report “Recommendations for a new human rights framework to improve people’s lives” on 10 December 2018.

“The Scottish Government is committed to standing up for human rights, particularly in the face of the risks created by Brexit and the UK Government’s proposals to repeal the Human Rights Act.”
– Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland, Dec 2017.

A Reference Group of around 50 civil society organisations has supported the Advisory Group. We engaged with them throughout our work. Their input has played a key role in our final recommendations.

Who we are…



Who we are…

Members of the First Minister’s Advisory Group on Human Rights Leadership

Dr Katie Boyle

Associate Professor in International Human Rights Law at the University of Stirling. She qualified as a constitutional lawyer with the Government Legal Service for Scotland. Her research addresses the justiciability and constitutionalisation of economic, social and cultural rights.

Professor Nicole Busby

Nicole is a Professor of Law at Strathclyde. She specialises in the areas of Labour and Employment Law, Discrimination Law and European Social Law and Policy. She is a Member of the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s Scotland Committee.

Professor Paul Hunt

Paul is a Professor of Law at the Human Rights Centre, University of Essex. He has previously served as the United Nations’ (UN) Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health and as an independent expert on the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

Dr Tobias Lock

Tobias is a Senior Lecture in European Law and co-director of the Europa Institute at the University of Edinburgh. He has delivered significant work looking at the relationship between the EU and the European Convention on Human Rights.

Shelagh McCall QC

Convenor of the Faculty of Advocates Human Rights and Rule of Law Committee, Shelagh brings extensive experience as a practising lawyer specialising in human rights, including at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. She is also a former Commissioner at the Scottish Human Rights Commission.

Professor Alan Miller (Chair)

Alan is a Special Envoy of the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions, a roster member of the UNDP Crisis Response Unit and a member of the First Minister’s Standing Council on Europe. He previously held the elected positions of Chair of the Scottish Human Rights Commission and Chair of the European Network of National Human Rights Institutions.

Professor Elisa Morgera

Elisa is Professor of Global Environmental Law and Co-Director of Strathclyde Centre for Environmental Law and Governance. She specialises in international, European and comparative environmental law, with a particular focus on the interaction between biodiversity law and human rights.

Professor Aoife Nolan

Aoife is Professor of International Human Rights Law at the University of Nottingham and a member of the Council of Europe’s European Committee of Social Rights, the leading European monitoring mechanism on economic and social rights.

Judith Robertson

Judith is Chair of the Scottish Human Rights Commission. Previously Programme Director of See Me and head of Oxfam Scotland, Judith has had long-standing involvement in social justice campaigning and advocating for the rights of many disadvantaged groups.

Members of the Secretariat

Gill Surfleet

Head of Secretariat for the First Minister’s Advisory Group on Human Rights Leadership – Previously a practicing solicitor in the Scottish Government and before that in international human rights law, working on cases such as the Mau Mau case. Gill has worked with a number of international organisations, including the UN.

Adam Bruton

Secretariat and Policy Officer for the First Minister’s Advisory Group on Human Rights Leadership – Adam joined the Scottish Court Service in 2010 after graduating with Honours in Business Management. In 2013 he joined the Scottish Government working in the Care and Justice division before moving in 2016 to the Connected Communities division.


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02 Who we are
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Our recommendations have been informed by our consultations with a wide range of duty bearers (eg public authorities), civil society representatives and those with lived experience of human rights issues in Scotland.

Evidence from previous studies and participative processes has also played a key role.

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First Minister's Advisory Group on Human Rights Leadership

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