Search Legislation

Scotland Act 1998

SECTION 87: The Advocate General for Scotland.
Purpose and Effect

This section makes such provision as is necessary for the establishment of the new Ministerial post of the Advocate General for Scotland, the Scottish Law Officer to the UK Government.


The Scottish Law Officers to the UK Government prior to devolution were the Lord Advocate and the Solicitor General for Scotland. However, these offices became part of the Scottish Executive. Section 44 provides for the Lord Advocate and Solicitor General to be members of the Scottish Executive and section 48(6) has the effect of providing that their offices ceased to be part of the UK Government. This took place on 20th May 1999. Section 48 makes provision for their appointment and for the disengagement of their posts from the UK Government.

The Law Officer functions of the Lord Advocate which he had immediately before that date and which related to reserved matters were transferred to the Advocate General. In the case of statutory functions this was done by the Transfer of Functions (Lord Advocate and Advocate General for Scotland) Order 1999 (S.I. 1999/679).

There are other references to the functions of the Advocate General in sections 32 and 33 (submission of Bills for Royal Assent and scrutiny of Bills by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council); Schedule 6 (devolution issues); and the amendments to the Crown Suits (Scotland) Act 1857 and the Crown Proceedings Act 1947 made by Schedule 8.

Parliamentary Consideration
Details of Provisions

Subsection (1) inserts a reference to the Advocate General for Scotland in the list of Ministerial offices in Schedule 2 of the House of Commons Disqualification Act 1975. Section 2 of that Act limits the number of holders of the offices listed who are entitled to sit in the House of Commons at any one time. Subsection (1) also inserts the same reference in Part III of Schedule 1 to the Ministerial and other Salaries Act 1975, which lists the Law Officers to the UK Government and specifies their salaries. (Similar references to the Lord Advocate and Solicitor General for Scotland were removed by section 48(6)).

Subsection (2) provides that a vacancy in the office should not affect the validity of anything done in relation to it. This will ensure that, for example, legal proceedings are not disrupted if the post falls vacant.

Subsection (3) provides for another Minister of the Crown, to be determined by the Prime Minister in writing, to exercise the functions of the Advocate General if his office is vacant or he is unable to act.

Back to top


Print Options


Explanatory Notes

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.


More Resources

Access essential accompanying documents and information for this legislation item from this tab. Dependent on the legislation item being viewed this may include:

  • the original print PDF of the as enacted version that was used for the print copy
  • lists of changes made by and/or affecting this legislation item
  • confers power and blanket amendment details
  • all formats of all associated documents
  • correction slips
  • links to related legislation and further information resources