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Scottish Independence Referendum Act 2013

Voting etc.

13.Section 4 introduces schedule 2 which sets out provisions about the manner of voting, the register of electors, postal voting and the supply of documents used in this process. These rules broadly follow existing law and practice for local government elections in Scotland, though they are adapted to fit the circumstances of a referendum.

Schedule 2: Further provision about voting in the referendum

Part 1: Manner of voting

14.Paragraph 1 of schedule 2 sets out the various ways to vote in the referendum, giving voters an entitlement to vote in person at polling stations unless they have opted to vote by post, in which case they may do so. A voter may also vote by using a proxy. Offences related to voting are set out in schedule 7.

15.Sub-paragraph (5) allows someone who is working for a counting officer or is a police constable on duty on the day when polling is taking place to vote at any polling station in the same local council area as the polling station at which they would normally vote (provided they have a certificate as described under rule 15(6) of schedule 3).

16.Sub-paragraph (6)(a) allows voters who have been detained in a mental or psychiatric hospital to vote in person at the polling station if they have permission to do so or to vote by post or proxy if they are entitled to do so. Sub-paragraph (6)(b) permits someone remanded in custody, and to whom section 7A of the Representation of the People Act 1983 applies, to vote only by post or proxy.

17.The Act uses the term ‘absent voter’ to describe both postal voters and proxy voters. Paragraph 2 grants an absent vote in the referendum to postal and proxy voters already on the relevant lists for Scottish local government or Scottish Parliamentary elections. Such voters are referred to as ‘existing postal voters’ and ‘existing proxy voters’.

18.Paragraph 3 deals with new applications for postal votes and proxy votes for the referendum from applicants who are already on, or have applied to be on, the register of electors, including those with anonymous entries. The ‘register of electors’ for the purposes of the Act means the register of local government electors and the register of young voters maintained under the Scottish Independence Referendum (Franchise) Act 2013. Applications must be accepted provided they are submitted before the cut-off date and meet the requirements set out in this paragraph and paragraph 7. Paragraph 3 also deals with applications from existing postal voters to vote by proxy and existing proxy voters who wish to vote by post.

19.Paragraph 4 places a requirement on electoral registration officers to keep absent voters lists that comprise a list of all those entitled to a postal vote in the referendum (the postal voters list) and all those entitled to a proxy vote (the list of proxies). Sub-paragraph (4) requires that where someone has an anonymous entry in the register of electors, any entry in the absent voter’s list should include only the person’s voter number. Sub-paragraph (5) requires electoral registration officers to notify anyone who is removed from either of these lists, where it is practicable to do so, with the reason for their removal.

20.Paragraph 5 sets out the requirements for someone who votes as proxy for another voter. The voter can have only one person appointed as proxy to vote for them. The proxy cannot be someone who would be below voting age on the date of the referendum, who would be subject to any other legal incapacity to vote, or who does not fulfil the citizenship qualifications for a local government election. No one can vote as proxy for more than two people who are not their spouse, civil partner or other close family relation. There is a duty on the registration officer to make the appointment of a proxy provided the applicant is entitled to an absent vote and makes an application in accordance with paragraph 3, the nominated proxy is willing and able to be a proxy and the application meets the requirements set out in paragraph 7. These include provision of details of the person the applicant wishes to be appointed as their proxy. Sub-paragraph (10) allows a person to cancel the appointment of a proxy by giving notice to the registration officer.

21.Paragraph 6 sets out the requirements for voting as a proxy. The proxy can vote by post if they opt to have a postal vote, or they may vote at a polling station. Where someone has a proxy and the proxy opts to vote by post, the person who has the proxy is not allowed to apply for a ballot paper to vote at a polling station (other than a tendered ballot paper as described in rule 24 of schedule 3). He or she must rely on the proxy’s postal vote. However, where someone has a proxy and the proxy does not opt to vote by post, the person may vote at a polling station, provided they do so before a ballot paper has been issued to their proxy (see paragraph 1(4)). Sub-paragraph (6) requires that where someone applies to the registration officer to vote by post as a proxy for someone else, the application must be granted if they are an existing proxy voter for that person and the application meets the requirements of paragraph 7.

22.Sub-paragraph (7) places a requirement on electoral registration officers to keep a proxy postal voters list comprising existing proxies who opt to vote by post and those whose applications under sub-paragraph (6) have been granted. Sub-paragraph (9) requires that where a voter has an anonymous entry in the electoral register, any entry in the proxy postal voter’s list should include only the person’s voter number. The proxy may only vote by post if they are named on that list. Sub-paragraphs (10) and (11) require the registration officer to retain details (name, date of birth and signature) of those who have applied for proxy votes under this paragraph until one year after the date of the referendum.

23.Paragraph 7 sets out the requirements for applications:

i.

From voters to vote by post

ii.

From voters to vote by proxy

iii.

From existing postal voters for their ballot paper to be sent to a different address

iv.

From existing postal voters to vote by proxy in the referendum

v.

From existing proxy voters to vote by post

vi.

From voters wishing to appoint a proxy to vote for them

vii.

From voters wishing to vote by post as proxy for someone else.

viii.

From proxies who wish to vote by post for their ballot paper to be sent to a different address.

24.Such applications must be made in writing before the cut-off date (sub-paragraph (2)). They must also include certain information such as the person’s name, date of birth and signature (unless a signature is not required due to a disability or inability to read or write), as set out in sub-paragraphs (3), (4) and (5). Sub-paragraph (5) requires emergency proxy applications made on the grounds set out in sub-paragraph (9)(a) to comply with additional requirements set out in paragraph 8. Sub-paragraph (7) sets out the requirements for the format of the applicant’s date of birth and signature on the application. Sub-paragraph (8) sets out the required details in relation to the person to be appointed as a voter’s proxy.

25.Sub-paragraphs (9) and (10) allow for emergency proxy applications, where someone becomes unable to vote in person at the polling station due to a disability suffered after the cut-off date, an unavoidable absence from their qualifying address (at short notice) after the cut-off date; or an absence for reasons relating to occupation, service or employment at short notice after the cut-off date and that person wishes to appoint someone as their proxy. Such applications must be submitted before 5pm on the day of the referendum.

26.Paragraph 8 sets out the requirements for emergency proxy applications on the grounds set out in paragraph 7(9)(a). An application from a person applying for an emergency proxy vote must contain a statement of the date the applicant became aware of the reason for making the application. Where the application is made on or after the fifth working day before the poll and on the grounds of the applicant’s suffering a disability after the cut-off date or being unavoidably absent from the applicant’s qualifying address, the application must also be attested to by a person who is 18 or over, knows the applicant and is not related to the applicant. For those who apply in that period for reasons of occupation, service or employment, the application must be attested by the applicant’s employer or, in other cases such as self-employment, by a person aged 18 or over who knows the applicant and is not related to them. Registered service voters applying on employment-related grounds do not have to meet the attestation requirements.

27.Paragraph 9 places an obligation on electoral registration officers to notify applicants for a postal or proxy vote whether the application has been accepted or not, and to give a reason if the application is refused.

28.Paragraph 10 requires the registration officer to supply as many forms as necessary to anyone wishing to use them in connection with registering to vote, or to applying for an absent vote, at the referendum. The forms must be free of charge. Paragraph 46 provides that the style of the form is as prescribed by the Chief Counting Officer.

29.Paragraph 11 requires registration officers to keep a record of the dates of birth and signatures of voters who have applied for a postal or proxy vote. This information must be made available to the relevant counting officer as soon as possible after the cut-off date. This information is used by counting officers to verify postal voting statements returned along with postal votes.

30.Paragraph 12 states that any entry relating to a voter or proxy who has opted to vote by post should be marked with the letter ‘A’ on any list of voters provided for use at a polling station. This highlights the fact that the voter is an absent voter and is not entitled to vote in person.

31.Paragraph 13 deals with registration appeals made under existing legislation about registering on the electoral register (i.e. under section 56 of the 1983 Act, including as that provision is applied in relation to the register of young voters). Sub-paragraph (1) states that until the appeal has been decided, any activity related to the referendum proceeds on the basis that there is no appeal. For example, if an individual is appealing against the registration officer refusing to register him or her, he or she is not entitled to a vote in the referendum.

32.Under sub-paragraph (2), if, when an appeal is decided it results in an alteration of the register of electors (which is usually carried out by means of a notice rather than by publication of a completely new register), any referendum-related activity should take place in light of the decision as represented by the notice. In other words, once the notice is issued the appeal decision should be acted upon, but until that point the appeal should be ignored.

Part 2: Registration

33.Part 2 of schedule 2 sets out the consequences of being registered to vote and the functions of registration officers.

34.Paragraph 14 prevents anyone who is registered in the electoral register (or who is on the list of proxies) from not being allowed to vote in the referendum on the grounds that they are ineligible to vote. However, if they are found later to be ineligible to vote, their vote can be rejected and they may be subject to pay a penalty for a voting offence. The effect of this is that the person’s entry in the electoral register or on the list of proxies is to be taken as prima facie evidence of his or her entitlement to vote.

35.Paragraph 15 prevents any minor error, such as a spelling error, in the electoral register or any of the other relevant documents used in relation to voting in the referendum from hindering the use of that document.

36.Paragraph 16 requires registration officers to carry out their functions in accordance with directions given by the Chief Counting Officer, which must in turn be in accordance with this Act and all other legislation which currently applies to registration officers (mostly they are regulated under the Representation of the People Act 1983, particularly as amended by the Representation of the People Act 2000). It also allows a deputy registration officer to carry out a registration officer’s duties and in that event the provisions of the Act apply to deputy registration officers. The paragraph also requires councils to provide staff to a registration officer to enable him or her to fulfil their functions under the Act.

37.Under the provisions of paragraph 17, any alteration that is to be made to the electoral register within 5 days of the date of the referendum will have no effect in the referendum. Sub-paragraph (3) applies section 13B(2) to (6) of the Representation of the People Act 1983 to the referendum, the effect of which is that where an alteration is to take effect at least 5 days before the referendum but under the normal rules about alterations the notification would not be issued by that date, the registration officer must issue a notice of the alteration which takes effect on the day on which it is issued. This allows alterations to be made quickly so that counting officers are aware of every person who is entitled to vote.

38.Sub-paragraph (4) applies section 13BB of the Representation of the People Act 1983 to the referendum if the referendum is to be held during a canvass period. Section 13BB requires registration officers to publish notice of changes to the electoral register resulting from applications made during the canvass period.

39.Paragraph 18 requires electoral registration officers to create a list known as the ‘polling list’, merging the register of local government electors in their area with the register of young voters in their area. Once the registers are merged, it must not be possible to distinguish between young voters and other voters. The entries should display all of the information contained on the separate registers, except dates of birth. Under sub-paragraphs (5) to (7), electoral registration officers and their staff are prohibited from sharing the polling list with anyone who does not require a copy of the list for the purpose of registration functions in connection with the referendum or otherwise in accordance with the Act, e.g. counting officers and the designated campaign organisations. The list must be securely destroyed one year after the poll, unless the Court of Session or a sheriff principal otherwise direct.

40.Paragraph 19 sets out the days that are not to be counted in working out the cut-off date of 11 days before the referendum by which certain things must be done for a voter to vote. These include weekends, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, bank holidays in Scotland, and days appointed for public thanksgiving or mourning

Part 3: Postal voting: issue and receipt of ballot papers

41.Part 3 of schedule 2 sets out the rules for the handling of postal ballot papers.

42.Paragraph 20 specifies that only the counting officer and their staff may be present at the issuing of postal ballot papers, though it protects the right of representatives of the Electoral Commission and accredited observers to attend. At the receipt of the postal ballot papers, counting officers and their staff may be present, along with these representatives and observers. However, referendum agents and their nominated attendees (‘postal ballot agents’) may also attend at the receipt stage (the maximum number of attendees will be determined by the counting officer and will be the same for each referendum agent). Notice of the appointment of a postal ballot agent must be given to the counting officer in advance of the postal voters box being opened.

43.Paragraph 21 requires the counting officer to ensure that anyone attending the issue or receipt of ballot papers has been provided with a copy of the requirement of secrecy contained in paragraph 7 of schedule 7.

44.Paragraph 22 states that postal ballots are to be issued as soon as it is practicable to do so).

45.Paragraph 23 provides the rules for the issuing of postal ballot papers to the addresses shown on the postal voters or proxy postal voters lists. The voter number (as specified in the polling list) must be marked on the corresponding number list beside the unique identifying number of the ballot paper issued to that voter. A mark must also be made on the postal voters list or proxy postal voters list to denote that a ballot paper has been sent to that voter.

46.Under paragraph 24 a counting officer must issue only one ballot paper to a voter with more than one entry in the postal voters list or proxy postal voters list.

47.Under paragraph 25 a counting officer must issue two envelopes to postal voters; an envelope marked ‘A’ in which to put the completed ballot paper (‘the ballot paper envelope’); and an envelope marked ‘B’ in which to return envelope A along with the postal voting statement.

48.Paragraph 26 requires the counting officer to seal the corresponding number lists in a packet after the issue of each batch of ballot papers, and to maintain the security of the marked postal voters list and proxy postal voters lists up until that point.

49.Paragraph 27 provides that all postage costs for postal ballot papers must be pre-paid, except return postage for postal voters whose ballot pack is sent to an address outside of the UK.

50.Paragraph 28 makes provision for a postal voter who accidentally spoils their ballot paper or postal voting statement to return them, along with the envelopes supplied, to the counting officer and to receive a replacement postal ballot pack. To receive a replacement ballot paper after 5pm on the day before the poll, the ballot pack must be returned in person.

51.The counting officer must, under sub-paragraphs (6) and (7), immediately cancel any returned postal ballot packs and put them into a sealed packet. Under sub-paragraph (9), the counting officer must keep a ‘list of spoilt ballot papers’ detailing the name and number of the voter and the ballot paper number, and, where the postal voter is a proxy, their name and address.

52.Paragraph 29 allows a postal voter who has lost or has not received their postal ballot paper, postal voting statement or return envelopes by the fourth day before the poll, to apply to the counting officer for a replacement in the same way as described in paragraph 27.

53.Paragraph 30 provides for situations in which any of the events listed in sub-paragraph (2) occurs after the voter or the voter’s proxy has been issued with a postal ballot paper. The occurrence of one of those events means that the voter or proxy either is no longer entitled to vote by post, or has asked for the paper to be sent to a different address. The registration officer must notify the counting officer that the event has occurred. The postal ballot paper that has been issued (‘the superseded postal ballot paper’) is void. The counting officer must cancel the previously issued documents (the superseded postal ballot paper and the postal voting statement) to ensure that the ballot paper has no effect. Where the event is a change in the address to which a postal ballot paper is to be sent, a replacement postal ballot paper must be sent to that address. The voter or proxy is required to return the superseded postal ballot paper and its associated documents. A list of superseded ballot papers must be kept, containing the details specified in sub-paragraph (10).

54.Paragraph 31 requires the counting officer to give at least 48 hours’ notice in writing to the referendum agents appointed for their area of the opening of any postal ballot box and its contents. They must include details of the time and place and the number of postal ballot agents permitted.

55.Paragraph 32 requires the counting officer to provide separate boxes to collect covering envelopes and postal ballot papers, marked with their purpose and the name of the local government area. The box must be shown to any postal ballot agents to prove that it is empty before being locked and sealed by the counting officer (and any postal ballot agent who wishes to attach their own seal).

56.Sub-paragraph (5) requires the counting officer to provide separate containers for rejected votes, postal voting statements, ballot paper envelopes, rejected ballot paper envelopes, votes rejected during the verification procedure, and postal voting statements rejected during the verification procedure.

57.Sub-paragraph (6) requires the counting officer to ensure the safety and security of all of the boxes described in this paragraph.

58.Paragraph 33 requires the counting officer to place any returned postal vote covering envelopes (and any other envelopes which contain a ballot paper, ballot paper envelope or postal voting statement) immediately into a postal voters box.

59.Sub-paragraphs (3) and (4) allow the counting officer to collect, or arrange to have collected, any postal ballot papers which have been delivered to polling stations. These should be contained in packets, sealed by the presiding officer and any polling agent who wishes to attach their own seal.

60.Paragraph 34 states that each postal voters box must be opened by the counting officer in front of any postal ballot agents in attendance. As long as one box remains sealed to receive covering envelopes until the close of poll, the counting officer may open the other boxes. The last postal voters box and the postal ballot box must be opened along with the counting of the rest of the votes under the conduct rules.

61.Paragraph 35 requires the counting officer to count and record the number of covering envelopes in each opened box, and to set aside at least 20% of each box for verification of the personal identifiers (signature and date of birth). The counting officer must then open each of the remaining covering envelopes, keeping the ballot papers face downwards. The counting officer and the counting officer’s staff must not look at the corresponding number list used at the issuing of the postal ballot papers during this process.

62.Where the envelope is missing either a postal voting statement or ballot paper envelope (or, where there is no ballot paper envelope, is missing a ballot paper), the counting officer should mark the covering envelope ‘provisionally rejected’ and place it, with its contents attached, into the container for rejected votes.

63.Under sub-paragraph (9), where the envelope does contain a postal voting statement, the counting officer should mark the marked copy of the postal voters list or proxy postal voters list with a separate, clear mark, to highlight that the voter has returned their postal vote.

64.Sub-paragraph (11) requires the counting officer, once the last covering envelope has been opened, to make a sealed packet containing the marked postal voters list and proxy postal voters list.

65.Paragraph 36 allows anyone on the postal voters list or proxy postal voters list to request confirmation from the counting officer that their postal voting statement has been received at any time between the issuing of the postal ballots and the close of the poll.

66.Paragraph 37 requires the counting officer to check all postal voting statements which have not been set aside for verification and judge whether they have been properly completed. If the statement has not been properly completed, the counting officer should mark the statement ‘rejected’, attach it to the ballot paper envelope or ballot paper, show it to the postal ballot agents who may object to the counting officer’s decision (in which case the envelope should be marked ‘rejection objected to’) and add it to the container for rejected votes.

67.The counting officer must then compare the numbers on the postal voting statements with those on the ballot paper envelopes. If the numbers match, the postal voting statements and ballot paper envelopes should be placed in their respective containers. Where they do not match, or where there is a valid postal voting statement but no ballot paper envelope, the counting officer should mark the documents ‘provisionally rejected’ and put them in the container for rejected votes.

68.Paragraph 38 applies to envelopes which have been set aside for verification under paragraph 36. The counting officer must open the envelope and judge whether it has been properly completed, including comparing the signature and date of birth on the postal voting statement with those contained in the record of personal identifiers. Votes rejected under this paragraph should be placed in the rejected votes (verification procedure) container. The postal ballot agents must be shown the postal voting statement, permitted to view the personal identifiers record and may object to the decision, in which case the statement will be marked to show that the rejection was objected to.

69.Paragraph 39 allows the counting officer to check at any time the personal identifiers on a postal voting statement which has been placed in the postal voting statements container. If the counting officer is not satisfied that the signatures or dates of birth match, the statement should be marked ‘rejected’, shown to the postal ballot agents (who are permitted to object) and placed in the container for rejected votes (verification procedure), along with the corresponding ballot paper which should be retrieved from the postal ballot paper box. The counting officer must keep the ballot papers face downwards when retrieving them and re-seal the box in the presence of ballot paper agents.

70.Paragraph 40 requires the counting officer to open the ballot paper envelopes and place the ballot papers in the postal ballot box, except where the ballot paper envelope is empty, or where the number on the ballot paper does not match the number on the ballot paper envelope (in which case they should be marked ‘provisionally rejected’ and placed in the containers for rejected ballot paper envelopes or the container for rejected ballot papers respectively).

71.Paragraph 41 allows the counting officer to retrieve any cancelled ballot paper which has been placed in a postal voters box, postal ballot box or the container for ballot paper envelopes.

72.Paragraph 42 requires the counting officer to keep a list of the ballot paper numbers of any postal ballot paper which was received without a corresponding postal voting statement; and a separate list of the ballot paper numbers of any postal ballot papers which were not received with the corresponding postal voting statement.

73.Paragraph 43 provides that where a postal voting statement is received with no attached ballot paper, or vice versa, the counting officer should check to see whether the corresponding papers are included on either of the lists described above. If the papers can be matched, the counting officer must act as though the papers had not been marked ‘provisionally rejected’ and must treat the papers accordingly.

74.Paragraph 44 requires the counting officer, as soon as possible after the matching of papers under paragraph 43 above, to make up separate sealed packets containing the contents of the containers of rejected votes, postal voting statements, rejected ballot paper envelopes, rejected votes (verification procedure), postal voting statements (verification procedure), and the lists of spoilt, lost and superseded ballot papers.

75.Under paragraph 45, the counting officer is required to send all of the sealed packets to the proper officer of the local authority along with the other documents to be sent as part of the conduct rules in Schedule 3 and a statement of the contents and date. A copy of this statement should be provided to the Electoral Commission. Where any papers are received too late to be included in the packs the counting officer should package and send these separately.

76.Paragraph 46 allows the Chief Counting Officer to prescribe forms to be used under paragraphs 10 and 45. Where the forms are prescribed by the Chief Counting Officer, they may be used with such variations as circumstances require.

Part 4: Supply of polling lists etc.

77.Part 4 of Schedule 2 deals with the supply of polling lists and related documentation.

78.Paragraph 48 requires registration officers, at the request of the relevant counting officer, to supply to the counting officer the polling list, any notices of alterations to the register of electors, and any record of anonymous entries. Counting officers may request as many copies as they reasonably require for the purposes of the referendum, and the copies must be provided free of charge. Counting officers should also be provided with as many free copies of the postal voters list, list of proxies and proxy postal voters list as they may reasonably require. This includes a duty to supply one copy in data form. Where additional copies of any of the lists mentioned above are requested, printed copies should be issued. Anyone who receives a copy of a list under this paragraph is prohibited from supplying a copy, disclosing or making use of any of the information contained in it which is not also available in the edited copy of the local government register.

79.Paragraph 49 requires registration officers to supply free copies of the polling list and any alterations, the postal voters list, the list of proxies, and the proxy postal voters list to the Electoral Commission (in data form unless a paper copy is requested). The Electoral Commission and their staff are subject to similar restrictions around disclosing the information as registration officers under paragraph 48. The Commission may, however, use the information contained in the register to fulfil their duties in relation to the permissibility of donors, and they may also publish anonymised voter information.

80.Paragraph 50 allows registration officers to supply one copy of edited versions of the lists (with voter numbers and anonymous entries removed) to the designated campaign organisations on their making a request in writing. Unless specified by the designated organisation, the copy will be provided in data form. These copies are to be used only for the purposes of campaigning and complying with the controls on donations and regulated transactions in schedule 4.

81.Paragraph 51 requires registration officers to supply to permitted participants in the campaign, on request, one copy of the full version of the local government register and any alterations, the postal voters list, the list of proxies, and the proxy postal voters list. Permitted participants are subject to similar restrictions as designated organisations, as above, on the purposes for which the lists may be used.

82.Paragraph 52 confirms that the duty on a registration officer under this schedule is a duty only to supply the data in the form in which the registration officer holds it.

83.Paragraph 53 is an additional general restriction on the use of registration documents by those other than those for whom they are intended (for the purposes of this paragraph, “registration documents” means the polling list, notices altering that list, record of anonymous entries, postal voters list, list of proxies, or proxy postal voters list, or the edited equivalents of these items as provided for by paragraph 50), stating that any person who receives a copy of such a document must not supply any copies of that document, or disclose or make use of the information contained in it.

84.Paragraph 54 deals with offences in relation to disclosures of registration documents. A person is guilty of an offence if they breach any of the disclosure restrictions under this Part of the schedule, unless they were under direction of a supervisor with whose instructions they complied, or unless they took all reasonable steps to prevent the breach. An offence under this paragraph carries a penalty, on conviction, of a fine.

85.Under paragraph 55, any person who holds a document supplied under paragraph 48(1) or (2), 50(1) or 51(1) must securely destroy the document no later than one year after the referendum, unless the Court of Session or a sheriff principal orders otherwise. A person who fails to do so is guilty of an offence, with a penalty of a fine if convicted.

Part 5: Supply of marked polling lists etc.

86.Part 5 of schedule 2 deals with the supply of marked polling lists (i.e. the polling lists which were annotated on the day of the poll to show which voters were provided with a ballot paper). Paragraph 56 allows designated organisations to request the counting officer to supply them with a copy of the marked versions of the polling list, any notices setting out alterations to the polling list, the postal voters list, list of proxies, and proxy postal voters list. The request must be made for purposes in connection with the campaign in respect of the referendum, or of complying with the schedule 4 controls on donations and regulated transactions, and if these purposes are satisfied the counting officer has a duty to supply the requested copies. The copies under this paragraph are subject to the same conditions as unmarked copies.

87.Paragraph 57 sets out the fees to be paid in relation to the supply of copies under paragraph 56.

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Text created by the Scottish Executive department responsible for the subject matter of the Act to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes were introduced in 1999 and accompany all Acts of the Scottish Parliament except those which result from Budget Bills

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