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Scotland Act 1998

SECTION 21: Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body.

Purpose and Effect

This section provides for the establishment, membership and functions of the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body (SPCB) which oversees the administration of the Parliament and represents it in legal matters. The Parliament itself is not a body corporate and the establishment of a corporate body for it simplifies its administrative and legal arrangements. The SPCB carries out the functions conferred on it in the Scotland Act and may have additional functions conferred on it by virtue of other enactments. It carries out its functions under directions issued by the Parliament and has powers to appoint staff, hold property, and enter into contracts.

The SPCB will consist of the Presiding Officer and 4 other members of the Parliament. The detailed arrangements for the SPCB are set out in Schedule 2.


This section forms part of a set dealing with the administration of the Parliament including section 19 (Presiding Officer) and section 20 (Clerk of the Parliament). Detailed provisions relating to the SPCB are set out in Schedule 2.

The concept of the SPCB is based on similar arrangements in place at Westminster. The House of Commons (Administration) Act 1978 establishes the House of Commons Commission as a corporate body for the purposes of appointing staff. The Parliamentary Corporate Bodies Act 1992 establishes Corporate Officers for both the House of Commons and the House of Lords, with powers to hold property and to enter into contracts for the purposes of the respective Houses.

Parliamentary Consideration


Details of Provisions

Subsection (1) establishes the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body which in the Act is referred to as “the Parliamentary corporation”. This subsection also provides that the SPCB is to perform the functions conferred on it under the Act or under any other enactment.

Subsection (2) provides for the membership of the SPCB to be the Presiding Officer and four members of the Parliament who are to be appointed in accordance with standing orders. Standing Orders make provision for the members to be appointed by the Presiding Officer either after an election by the Parliament or, if any of the offices is not filled after an election, by the Presiding Officer. This membership is intended to ensure close Parliamentary control of the SPCB.

Subsection (3) places a duty on the SPCB to provide or make arrangements for the Parliament to be provided with the property, staff and services which are required for the Parliament’s purposes. These are the main functions of the SPCB. Further detailed provisions as to the SPCB’s functions, powers, proceedings etc. are set out in Schedule 2.

Under subsection (4) the Parliament has the power to give special or general directions to the SPCB for the purposes of or in connection with the exercise of its functions.

Subsection (5) provides that any property and liabilities acquired or incurred by the Parliament and which relate to matters within the general responsibility of the SPCB, shall be treated as property or liabilities of the SPCB. By virtue of section 126(1) property includes rights and interests of any description, and so will include contractual rights. This provision may be modified by the Scottish Parliament by virtue of paragraph 4(2) of Schedule 4.

Subsection (6) provides that any expenses of the SPCB, such as staff salaries etc., are payable out of the Scottish Consolidated Fund. This provision may be modified by the Scottish Parliament by virtue of the amendment made to paragraph 4(3) of Schedule 4 by Article 3 of S.I. 2000/1831.

Subsection (7) places a duty on the SPCB to pay any fees or other sums of money it receives into the Scottish Consolidated Fund. This is subject to any provision made by or under an Act of the Scottish Parliament for the disposal of, or accounting for, such money. Such provision is now made by the Public Finance and Accountability (Scotland) Act 2000 (2000 asp 1) but, until 1 April 2000, it was made by S.I. 1999/441.

Subsection (8) gives effect to Schedule 2 which makes further provision about the SPCB.

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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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