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Scotland Act 1998

Purpose and Effect

This section limits the competence of the Scottish Parliament to make laws. It provides that an Act of the Scottish Parliament (ASP) will not be law so far as any provision of it is outside the legislative competence of the Parliament. It then defines that what is meant by a provision of an ASP being outside the legislative competence of the Parliament is if it would form part of the law of a country other than Scotland or confer or remove functions exercisable otherwise than in or as regards Scotland, relates to reserved matters, is in breach of the restrictions in Schedule 4, is incompatible with any of “the Convention rights” (i.e. the rights under the European Convention on Human Rights which are defined and given effect in the Human Rights Act 1998) or with European Community law, or would remove the Lord Advocate from his position as head of the systems of criminal prosecution and investigation of deaths in Scotland. The section also makes provision to ensure that the Scottish Parliament can legislate about Scots private law and Scots criminal law, provided it does so to make the law apply consistently to reserved and devolved matters.

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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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