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Scotland Act 1998

SECTION 17: Effect of disqualification.

Purpose and Effect

This section sets out the consequences of disqualification in relation to persons returned as members of the Parliament and members who become disqualified during their term of office.


This section is the third to provide for disqualification. It follows on from the sections dealing with disqualification and exemptions from disqualification.

Parliamentary Consideration


Details of Provisions

Subsection (1) provides that if a person is elected when disqualified, either from membership of the Parliament as a whole or from membership for a particular constituency or region, the election is void and the seat becomes vacant. Reference to disqualification from membership for a particular constituency or region is intended to cover the holders of offices which may be specified in an order under section 15(2), for example, Lords-Lieutenant.

Subsection (2) provides that if any member of the Parliament becomes disqualified during his/her term of office he will cease to be a member and his seat will become vacant.

Subsection (3) provides for subsections (1) and (2) to have effect subject to any resolution of the Parliament under section 16(4) disregarding a disqualification.

Subsection (4) provides that subsection (2) also has effect subject to section 141 of the Mental Health Act 1983 and section 427 of the Insolvency Act 1986. These make special provision as to the vacation of seats of members of the UK Parliament who are detained in mental institutions or are declared bankrupt, and amendments are made to them in Schedule 8 to apply them to the members of the Scottish Parliament.

Where these provisions apply, the disqualified members seat will not be vacated immediately and therefore, he does not cease to be a member of the Parliament until the seat is vacant. However, in the meantime, he may not participate in any proceedings of the Parliament and other rights and privileges may be withdrawn on a resolution of the Parliament.

Subsection (5) provides that the validity of any proceedings of the Parliament will not be affected by the fact that any member is disqualified or becomes disqualified, either for the Parliament as a whole or for a particular constituency or region. “Proceedings” includes proceedings in committees and sub-committees under section 126(1).

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Text created by the government 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 Public Acts except Appropriation, Consolidated Fund, Finance and Consolidation Acts.


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