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Scotland Act 1998

Details of Provisions

Subsection (1) enables subordinate legislation to make provision to enable or facilitate the transfer of a function to the Scottish Ministers by virtue of section 53 or 63.  Such provision may, in particular, include modifying that function.

Subsection (2) provides that such subordinate legislation may, in particular, provide that a function will be:


exercisable separately in or as regards Scotland; or


exercisable separately within devolved competence (as defined in section 54).

Subsection (3) provides that subsection (1) may also enable functions to be shared with the Scottish Ministers (thus enabling the UK Minister to continue to hold the function concurrently), or otherwise adapted (under section 63, for example, so that it can be exercised in or as regards Scotland only with the consent of the Scottish Ministers).

Subsection (4) provides that no recommendation shall be made to Her Majesty in Council to make, and no Minister of the Crown shall make, an order under this section if it modifies a function of observing or implementing an obligation mentioned in subsection (5) unless the Scottish Ministers have been consulted about the modification.

Subsection (5) provides that the obligations referred to subsection (4) are international obligations, or obligations under European Community Law, to achieve a result defined by reference to a quantity where the quantity relates to the UK or part of it.

Subsection (6) provides that references in section 58 (powers of intervention of the Secretary of State) to the international obligation are to be read as references to the requirement to achieve the Scottish Ministers’ share of an obligation apportioned under subsection (4).

Subsection (7) provides that references to “Community Law” in sections 29(2)(d) (which provides that it is outwith the competence of the Scottish Parliament to legislate to make a provision which is incompatible with Community law), 57(2) (which provide that a member of the Scottish Executive has no power to make any subordinate legislation, or to do any other act, so far as the legislation or act is incompatible with Community law) and paragraph 1 of Schedule 6 (which defines “devolution issues”) are to be read as including references to the Scottish Ministers’ share of a Community obligation which has been apportioned under sub-section (4).  The effect is that where the Scottish share of a quantitative EC obligation is transferred to the Scottish Ministers, it would be regarded as a matter of Community law and can be enforced on the same basis as any other function of the Scottish Ministers of observing and implementing a Community obligation.

Further provision about the making of subordinate legislation is to be found in sections 112-115 and Schedule 7.  In particular, legislation under the present section can take the form either of an order made by a UK Minister or an Order in Council.  It is subject to procedures in both Houses of the Westminster Parliament.  Under Schedule 7, it may be subject either to negative or affirmative procedure except if it contains provisions which textually amend an Act, in which case it requires affirmative resolution in both Houses.

This power has been exercised up to September 2001 in making:

  • The Scotland Act 1998 (Modification of Functions) Order 1999 (S.I. 1999/1756);

  • The Scotland Act 1998 (Modification of Functions) Order 2000 (S.I. 2000/1458).

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