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Scotland Act 1998

SCHEDULE 8, Paragraph 6: United Nations Act 1946

Purpose and Effect

This paragraph amends the wording of subsection (4) of section 1 of the United Nations Act 1946 to provide that any Order in Council made under that section will be laid before the Scottish Parliament as well as before Westminster if any provision in the Order would be within the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament.


Despite the devolution of the implementation and observation of international obligations in relation to devolved matters, it should be possible for the UK Government to use section 1 of the United Nations Act 1946 to implement sanctions on a UK-wide basis.  Section 56(1)(b) of the Scotland Act enables existing sanctions licensing to continue on a UK-wide basis by making the relevant Ministerial functions exercisable concurrently by the Scottish Ministers and a Minister of the Crown.

Section 1 of the 1946 Act deals with the implementation of any Security Council resolution.  It is used most often to implement UN sanctions by means of licensing of exports and other trade.  For the most part they make provision about reserved matters, but certain devolved matters may be covered such as limitations on the provision of training.  On occasion, too, the power would be used to implement a resolution which would have a major impact upon a devolved matter.  For instance, a recent Order under the 1946 Act enabled the High Court of Justiciary to sit in the Netherlands for the Lockerbie case.

Orders in Council under the 1946 Act require to be laid before Parliament. In the light of the Lockerbie order in particular, it is right that the Scottish Parliament should have a role in relation to an Order in Council under the 1946 Act which makes provision about devolved matters in Scotland.  Accordingly, this paragraph amends the 1946 Act to provide that Orders in Council made under it are always to be laid before the UK Parliament even where they relate only to devolved matters, and that they are to be laid also before the Scottish Parliament except in those cases where they relate only to reserved matters.

Parliamentary Consideration


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