Languages of the UK BillAs amended
Be it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:
This act decree to create an official definition of the official languages of the United Kingdom. By doing this, the act seeks to enable the protection, promoting, of these languages, and to make provisions for the usage of these languages. This act also grants additional rights, privileges, and freedoms to the citizens of the United Kingdom, and to further establish an institution to oversee the protections of these freedoms and rights. The new role, Language Commissioner of the United Kingdom, shall lead this institution, and ensure that it fulfills it’s duties to promote, protect, and facilitate the use of the different official languages in the United Kingdom that are defined by this act, or by any amendments made to this act.
1 List of Official Languages
Chapter 1: Power to add new official languages
- Her Majesty may by Order in Council amend this Part so as to—
- specify, as an additional official language, a language of any description, or—
- make any other modifications to the list of official languages which She considers appropriate.
- An Order in Council under this section may make such modifications of—
- any enactment (including any enactment comprised in or made under this Act) or prerogative instrument, or—
- any other instrument or document, as Her Majesty considers appropriate in connection with the provision made by the Order.
- No recommendation is to be made to Her Majesty in Council to make an Order in Council under this section unless a draft of the statutory instrument containing the Order has been laid before, and approved by a resolution of, each House of Parliament.
- The amendment of this Part by an Order in Council under this section does not affect—
- the validity of an act made by a devolved administration passed before the amendment comes into force, or—
- the previous or continuing operation of such an act.
Chapter 2: Official languages of the United Kingdom
- British Sign Language
- Scottish Gaelic
- Ulster Scot (Amdt. A.2)
- Welsh (Amdt. C.2) (Amdt. C.2) (Amdt. E.2) (Amdt. A.3) (Amdt. B.3) (Amdt. C.3)
2 Protections and Rights
Chapter 1: Rights and anti-discrimination measures
- Everyone has the right, privilege, and freedom to communicate in the language they desire.
The official languages should be treated with equal favourability(Amdt. A.2) Language knowledge is henceforth to be considered a protected characteristic. This means that—
- a person can not be discriminated against for being able to speak or communicate in a given language,—
- a person can not be obstructed from exercising their right to communicate in the language of their desire, and—
- hate targeted towards speakers and individual speakers of a specific language goes under the definition as hate speech and is justiciable by active hate speech legislation
- In relation to immigration requirements, knowledge of the official languages should be treated equally.
Chapter 2: Availability
All official documents and forms shall be made available in all official languages so that speakers of these languages are able to read or understand them(Amdts. A and B) Official public websites should be available in all (Amdt. A) languages. This requirement is not retroactive, which means that—
- websites that are not under active development or maintenance is exempt, and—
- websites with limited maintenance is not required to implement this is the underlying architecture makes this difficult.
This parliament, devolved administrations, and local administrations should work to—(Amdt. A.2)
- facilitate education given in the medium of the representative official languages that have historical connections to their geographical area,—
- facilitate the prosperity of all the official languages, and—
protect their citizens freedom to communicate in their own language.(Amdt. A.2)
Documents relating to the functioning and running of the Houses of Parliament, devolved administrations, or any other local governance. This exception does not prevent said administrations to include or to require documents to be released in additional languages.
3 Establishment of a Language Commissioner
Chapter 1: The Language Commissioner
- There is to be a Language Commissioner of the United Kingdom (referred to in this act as “the Commissioner”).
- The Prime Minister must appoint the Commissioner.
Chapter 2: The Commissioner’s principal aim
- The principal aim of the Commissioner in exercising
his or her(Amdt. A.2) functions is to promote and facilitate the use of the official languages of the United Kingdom.
- The actions which the Commissioner must undertake in exercising functions include (but are not limited to) working towards increasing—
- the use of the different official languages in the provision of services, and—
- other opportunities for persons to use the different official languages.
- In exercising functions in accordance with subsection (1), the Commissioner must have regard to—
- the official status which the official languages has in the United Kingdom,
- the principle that, in the United Kingdom, the official languages should be treated no less favourably than the English language, and
- the principle that persons in the United Kingdom should be able to live their lives through the medium of any official language if they choose to do so.
Chapter 3: Promoting and facilitating use of official languages and treating official languages no less favourably than English.
- The commissioner may do anything that he or she thinks appropriate—
- to promote the use of the official languages,—
- to facilitate the use of the official languages, or—
- work towards ensuring that the different official languages are treated no less favourable than the English language.
- That includes, but is not limited to, doing any of the following things—
- promoting the provision of opportunities to use the official languages;
- encouraging best practice in relation to the use of the official languages by persons who deal with, or provide services to, other persons;
- keeping under review the adequacy and effectiveness of law relating to the official languages;
- carrying out, or commissioning other (Amdt. A.2) to carry out, research;
- carrying out, or commissioning other (Amdt. A.2) to carry out, educational activities;
- giving assistance to any person;
- making representations to any person;
- giving advice to any person.
- The Commissioner should not—
- make a grant or loan, or
- give a guarantee except with the approval of the Houses of Parliament.
Chapter 4: Staff
- The Commissioner—
- must appoint a person to be the Deputy Language Commissioner (referred to in this chapter as “the Deputy Commissioner”), and
- may appoint such other staff as the Commissioner thinks appropriate in connection with the exercise of
his or her(Amdt. A.2) functions.
- The Commissioner may pay remuneration to the members of the Commissioner’s staff.
- The Commissioner may pay pensions to, or in the respect of, persons who have been members of the Commissioner’s staff.
- The Commissioner must obtain the approval of the Houses of Parliament for—
- the number of staff that may be appointed,
- the terms and conditions of service of the staff, and
- payments made under subsection 2 and 3.
- The commissioner may delegate any or all of the Commissioner’s functions to a member of the Commissioner’s staff.
4 Short Title, Commencement and Extent
- This act applies to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
- This act may be cited as the Languages of the UK Act 2020.
- This act comes into force
two years after the passing of this act. (Amdt. D.2)