Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 1980

The Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 1980[1] is an Act of Parliament in the United Kingdom (citation 1980 c.62). It decriminalized private homosexual acts between two consenting adults in Scotland when it came into effect on 1 February 1981.[2]

Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 1980
Act of Parliament
Long titleAn Act to make further provision as regards criminal justice in Scotland; and for connected purposes.
Citation1980 c. 62
Territorial extent Scotland
Royal assent13 November 1980
Commencement1 February 1981
Status: Current legislation
Text of statute as originally enacted
Revised text of statute as amended
Text of the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 1980 as in force today (including any amendments) within the United Kingdom, from

"Subject to the provisions of this section, a homosexual act in private shall not be an offence provided that the parties consent thereto and have attained the age of twenty-one years." (§80:1)

The homosexual age of consent fixed by the Act (21) was much higher than the heterosexual age of consent in the United Kingdom, which had been set at 16 since the Criminal Law Amendment Act 1885. The ages of consent for homosexual and heterosexual acts in Scotland were eventually equalised at 16 with the passage of the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 2000.

Passage through ParliamentEdit

The amendment to legalise homosexual acts was moved by Robin Cook MP. While moving it, he stated "The clause bears the names of hon. Members from all three major parties. I regret that the only party represented among Scottish Members of Parliament from which there has been no support for the clause is the Scottish National Party. I am pleased to see both representatives of that party in their place, and I hope to convert them in the remainder of my remarks."[3] When the amendment came to a vote, the SNP's MPs Gordon Wilson and Donald Stewart both voted against the decriminalisation of homosexual acts.[4]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 1980". Expert Participation. Retrieved 4 September 2017.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  2. ^ "THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE (SCOTLAND) ACT 1980 (Hansard, 17 December 1980)". Retrieved 4 September 2017.
  3. ^ Robin Cook (22 July 1980). "Homosexual Offences". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). United Kingdom: House of Commons. col. 286.
  4. ^ "Homosexual Offences". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). United Kingdom: House of Commons. 22 July 1980. col. 321.

External linksEdit