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Scotland Act 1998


Section 28 provides for Bills of the Scottish Parliament to become Acts when they have received Royal Assent. Royal Assent is given by recording in the Register of the Great Seal Letters Patent under the Scottish Seal signed with Her Majesty’s own hand signifying Her Assent to the Bill. Sections 2(5) and 3(2) provide for dissolution of the Scottish Parliament and the fixing of dates for election by royal proclamation under the Scottish Seal.

Letters Patent and proclamations for similar purposes in relation to the UK Parliament and the elections to that Parliament pass under the Great Seal of the United Kingdom. However, in relation to the Scottish Parliament and elections to that Parliament it was considered more appropriate that they should pass under the Scottish Seal. All documents passed under the Scottish Seal are recorded in the Register of the Great Seal.

Section 45(7) provides that the First Minister is to be the Keeper of the Scottish Seal and, by virtue of paragraph 5 of Part I of Schedule 5, it is within the competence of the Scottish Parliament to make provision as to the use of the Scottish Seal.

Section 38 also makes provision for a Wafer Scottish Seal to be used in place of the Scottish Seal. This is because the Scottish Seal would have to be affixed as wax pendant attached by a ribbon, which is a cumbersome and expensive process, for every Letters Patent signifying Her Majesty’s Assent to a Bill or every Royal proclamation. In terms of the Wafer Scottish Seal Directions 1999 (S.S.I. 1999/130), made under this section, the Wafer Scottish Seal takes the form of an embossment on a die. The provision made by this section and these directions is similar to that made for a Wafer Great Seal (of the United Kingdom) by the Great Seal Act 1884.

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