From 1979 to 1981, he attended Lester B. Pearson United World College of the Pacific in Canada, where he gained the International Baccalaureate Diploma. He has a Bachelor of Laws from Dalhousie University and a Masters of Law from the London School of Economics.
Formerly a law professor at Osgoode Hall Law School and a director of the Jack and Mae Nathanson Centre on Transnational Human Rights, Crime and Security, he was elected as the New Democratic Party candidate in a federal by-election in Toronto—Danforth on March 19, 2012, following the death of Jack Layton in August 2011. He then earned undergraduate degrees from McGill University and from the University of Oxford where he was a Rhodes Scholar at Street John"s College. His academic specialty is international law with a focus on human rights law.
Scott was a professor in the University of Toronto Faculty of Law from 1989 to 2001.
He was Osgoode Law School"s Associate Dean (Research and Graduate Studies) from 2001 to 2004 and has remained on the faculty subsequently. Scott was selected as the New Democratic Party"s candidate for the Toronto—Danforth by-election on January 9, 2012.
In 1993-1994, he served as co-counsel for the government of Bosnia and Herzegovina before the International Court of Justice and has also been involved in human rights issues relating to Iraq, Sri Lanka and Honduras where he was involved with the Truth Commission held in the aftermath of the 2009 Honduran coup d"état. He also advised rights seeking groups in Canada in regards to legal challenges using the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and assisted Maher Arar in his lawsuit against the Canadian government.
Scott was an advisor to the African National Congress during its period in exile during the Apartheid era and subsequently assisted in the drafting of portions of the post-apartheid Constitution of South Africa.