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The Standards Commission is an independent body whose purpose is to encourage high ethical standards in public life through the promotion and enforcement of Codes of Conduct for councillors and those appointed to the boards of devolved public bodies.

Appeal to the Sheriff Principal

11th June 2024

Following a Hearing on 17 January 2024, Councillor M. Tauqeer Malik, an elected member of Aberdeen City Council, was found by the Standards Commission on 23 January 2024 to have breached the Councillors’ Code of Conduct. Cllr Malik was quoted in Aberdeen Live on 14 October 2022 as stating the Convener of the Council’s Pension Committee, had “shown his prejudice” in refusing to sign Cllr Malik’s nomination to the Local Authority Pension Fund Forum. The Standards Commission found that the statement was not justified in the circumstances. This was because it found that Cllr Malik was aware that the decision not to nominate him had been made before any issues about ethnic minority representation had been raised; and he had been advised that the Administration had decided that no elected members were to be nominated as it was considered that engagement at officer level was sufficient.

Cllr Malik was found, therefore, by the Panel to have breached the respect and courtesy provisions of the Code.  The Panel did not consider that Cllr Malik’s comments were protected by Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) (protecting freedom of expression) and a finding of a breach of the Code was therefore established. 

Cllr Malik appealed that decision to Aberdeen Sheriff Court on the grounds that the Panel had made an error of law in relation to how they had approached the technical legal test in the application of Article 10 of the ECHR.  Having taken legal advice on the way the Panel approached Article 10 in its written decision of 23 January 2024, the Standards Commission decided not to defend the appeal. As a consequence, the Sheriff Principal quashed the finding that there had been a breach of the Code by Cllr Malik.

The Standards Commission reminds all councillors of their obligations to comply with the respect provisions of the Code, as it considers that a failure to do so reduces the standards of public debate to a level that could erode public confidence in politics and the role of a councillor. More information about the Councillors’ Code, and the Standards Commission’s Guidance on the Code can be found on the Standards Commission’s website at: