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Scotland Act 1998

Section C8: Product Standards, Safety and Liability
Purpose and Effect

This Section reserves technical standards, safety and labelling of products, and product liability, subject to certain exceptions. It has been amended by S.I. 2000/3252.


This reservation covers the regulation and control of the standards of products which are put on the market or into service so as to observe and implement the relevant EC law, notably the European Single Market Harmonisation Directives which have as their purpose the smooth functioning of the single market by removing potential barriers to trade. Also reserved under this heading are product safety and liability and product labelling.  These matters too are reserved in order to ensure that a single market is maintained within the UK.

Exceptions from these reservations are made for food, agricultural produce, fish products and certain agricultural products in line with the general devolution of food standards, agriculture and fisheries.

Details of Provisions

What is reserved are:


technical standards and requirements in relation to products in pursuance of an obligation under Community law.  This includes the imposition of specified requirements (both minimum and absolute) and technical standards relating to goods.  Examples of relevant EC laws include directives concerned with single market harmonisation and with the suitability of packaging for reuse or recycling;


the national accreditation body and the accreditation of bodies which certify or assess conformity to technical standards in relation to products or environmental management systems(1);


product safety and product liability; and


product labelling.


The following are excepted from the reserved matters:


food (which includes drink) and, in relation to food safety, materials which come into contact with food (e.g. packaging);


agricultural and horticultural produce;


fish and fish products; and


seeds, animal feeding stuffs, fertilisers and pesticides (including anything treated as if it were a pesticide by virtue of section 16(16) of the Food and Environment Protection Act 1985)(2) .

These exceptions are necessary for the devolution of agriculture, fisheries and food.

Agency Arrangements

The Scotland Act 1998 (Agency Arrangements) Order 1999 (S.I. 1999/1512) specified certain functions of a Minister of the Crown in relation to the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 1997 for the purpose of section 93 of the Scotland Act.


This was added by Article 5 of SI 2000/3252.


The words in brackets were added by Article 4 of SI 2000/3252.

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