Scotland Act 1998

Scotland Act 1998

Infobox UK Legislation
short_title= Scotland Act 1998
parliament=Parliament of the United Kingdom
long_title=An Act to provide for the establishment of a Scottish Parliament and Administration and other changes in the government of Scotland; to provide for changes in the constitution and functions of certain public authorities; to provide for the variation of the basic rate of income tax in relation to income of Scottish taxpayers in accordance with a resolution of the Scottish Parliament; to amend the law about parliamentary constituencies in Scotland; and for connected purposes.
statute_book_chapter=1998 Chapter 46
royal_assent=19 November 1998
commencement=Various dates from 19 November 1998 to 1 April 2000. [ [ Section 130.] ] [ [ Scotland Act 1998 (Commencement) Order 1998] ]
amendments=Scottish Parliament (Constituencies) Act 2004
The Scotland Act 1998 (1998 c. 46) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It is the Act which established the devolved Scottish Parliament.

The Act was introduced by the Labour government in 1998 after the Scotland referendum, 1997 showed that Scotland was in favour of both of the set questions, firstly for the creation of a parliament for Scotland and secondly, that this parliament should have tax varying powers. The Act creates the Scottish Parliament, sets out how Members of the Scottish Parliament are to be elected [ Sections 1 to 18. ] , makes some provision about the internal operation of the Parliament [ Sections 19 to 27, 39 to 43. ] (although many issues are left for the Parliament itself to regulate) and sets out the process for the Parliament to consider and pass Bills which become Acts of the Scottish Parliament once they receive Royal Assent [ Sections 28 to 36. ] . The Act specifically asserts the continued power of the UK Parliament to legislate in respect of Scotland; [Section 28(7).] thereby upholding the concept of Westminster's absolute Parliamentary sovereignty.

The Act also provides for the creation of a 'Scottish Executive' [ Section 44. ] though one of the early actions of the SNP administration that won power in the 2007 elections was to rebrand the Scottish Executive, as the group of Ministers and their civil servants had been known, as the Scottish Government. Despite the re-branding, the 'Scottish Executive' still uses the original description for a number of purposes (s.44 of the Scotland Act defines the nature of the body but does not use the words "shall be known as" with regard to a name as is the case with various other bodies whose names are thus fixed by statute). It consists of a First Minister and other Ministers appointed by the Queen with the approval of the Parliament, including the Lord Advocate and the Solicitor General for Scotland.

The Act sets out the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament. Rather than listing the matters over which the Scottish Parliament does control (devolved powers), it specifies the matters over which it does not (reserved matters). [Schedule 5.] It further designates a list of statutes which are not amenable to amendment or repeal by the Parliament [Schedule 4] which includes the Human Rights Act 1998 and many provisions of the Scotland Act itself. Even when acting within its legislative competence, the Act further constrains the powers of the Parliament by inhibiting it from acting in a manner incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights or European Community law. [Section 29(2)(d).] The same constraints apply to acts of the Scottish Executive. [Section 57(2).]

The Act also sets up mechanisms to resolve disputes over questions about legislative competence of the Parliament and powers of the Executive. The ultimate appeal in such matters lies to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council [ Sections 32, 33, 103, and Schedule 6 ] . It also allows the powers of the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Executive to be adjusted over time by agreement between both Parliaments by means of an Order in Council [ Sections 30 and 63. ] .

The Act was passed on November 17, 1998 [ [ Final debate in House of Lords] ] , and received royal assent two days later on November 19 [ [ Royal Assent signified] ] . The first elections were held in May 1999 and the Scottish Parliament and Executive assumed their full powers on 1 July 1999.

The Act was amended by the Scottish Parliament (Constituencies) Act 2004 to end the link between the number of MPs at Westminster and the number of constituency MSPs.


ee also

*Kilbrandon Commission

External links

* [ Text of the Act (Office of Public Sector Information site)]
* [ Associated delegated legislation (Office of Public Sector Information site)]
* [ Scottish Parliament site]
* [ Scottish Government site]

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