Search Legislation

Scotland Act 1998

Part 5: General

Paragraph 32 provides that where a devolution issue arises in judicial proceedings in the House of Lords the issue will normally be referred to the Judicial Committee.  However, if the House of Lords considers that it would be more appropriate in the circumstances of any case that it determines the issue it will be able to do so.

Paragraph 33 provides that the Lord Advocate, the Advocate General, the Attorney General or the Attorney General for Northern Ireland (i.e. all the principal Law Officers) may require any court or tribunal to refer to the Judicial Committee any devolution issue that has arisen in proceedings to which he is a party.

Paragraph 34 provides that all the principal Law Officers may refer to the Judicial Committee any devolution issue which is not the subject of proceedings.  This power enables the Law Officers to refer any vires question to the Judicial Committee if it is not already the subject of a judicial dispute.

Paragraph 35 provides the procedure that must be followed when one of the principal Law Officers has made a reference to the Judicial Committee under paragraph 34 relating to the proposed exercise of a function by member of the Scottish Executive.  The Law Officer making the reference must notify a member of the Scottish Executive that he is doing so.  Having been so notified, no member of the Scottish Executive shall exercise the function as proposed until the reference has been disposed of.  If a member of the Scottish Executive does attempt to exercise the function the Advocate General will be able to raise proceedings against him.

Paragraph 36 enables a court where a devolution issue has arisen in a case, to take account of any additional expenses incurred because of the participation of a Law Officer who was not previously party to the proceedings in deciding any question as to costs or expenses in the case.

Paragraph 37 provides that any power to regulate the procedures by which courts and tribunals conduct their business will include the power to make provision for the purposes of this Schedule including when a devolution issue is to be raised or referred; the procedure for sisting or staying (holding a case in abeyance); and the manner and timescale in which notice or intimation must be given.

Rules for the Court of Session, High Court of Justiciary and the Sheriff Court are provided by:

  • Act of Sederunt (Devolution Issues Rules) 1999 (S.I. 1999/1345);

  • Act of Adjournal (Devolution Issues Rules) 1999 (S.I. 1999/1346); and

  • Act of Sederunt (Proceedings for Determination of Devolution Issues Rules) 1999 (S.I. 1999/1347).

Paragraph 38 provides that any power or duty to refer a devolution issue to a court shall be interpreted as a power or, as the case may be duty, to refer the issue to the court for a decision i.e. a binding decision upon that issue.

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