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Supremacy Limits: Devolution

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Supremacy Limits: Devolution

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  • shared monarch since 1603 / Act Union 1707: shared Parliament / retained Scottish legal system / protestant religion & Church of Scotland unaltered / some argue partial constitution

Scotland Act 1998:

  • set out devoted government for Scotland / 199 elections Scottish Parliament / Scottish Executive formed under First Minister / operated since 2000 / May 2011 renamed Scottish Government
  • non-reserved: education, health, civil & criminal law / powers to legislate for Scotland (s28)
  • reserved: foreign policy, defence, constitution / Scottish Parliament no power to legislate
  • Similar to federal constitution / functions distributed regional legislatures & federal legislature
  • Scottish Parliament subordinate legislature so cannot legislate for England & Wales (s29)
  • cannot repeal certain legislation (s29): listed in Schedule 4: HRA 1998 / provisions of ECA 1972 / Scotland Act 1998 / Acts of Union 1707 free trade articles
  • UK Parliament can legislate for Scotland (s28) / convention not in devolved areas / cannot bind successors
  • Devolution issues / ultimately ruled on by Supreme Court
  • West Lothian Q: if delegated to Scotland eg education / should Scottish MPs vote in UK on these issues?
bits of law

Supremacy Limits: Devolution

[Flash Card 2 of 2]


  • subject to English law since 1284 / Act of Union with Wales 153 / Parliament represented England & Wales when legislative sovereignty established

Government of Wales Act 1998:

  • 1997 Devolution referendum approved / 1999 first elections to Welsh Assembly
  • Powers to make delegated legislation / not Acts / areas: planning, local government, housing, transport, health, agriculture & economic development
  • Secretary of State for Wales cabinet representative in UK Government

Government of Wales Act 2006:

  • Ministerial system / Welsh Assembly Government / enhanced law-making powers / Assembly Measures / referendum to decided if should have full powers
  • 2011 voted for Welsh Assembly full powers / UK Parliament has not transferred powers to Welsh assembly / less affect than Scottish devolution


  • Crown claimed authority since 1541 / had own Parliament until Act of Union 1800 lead to single Parliament
  • Government of Ireland Act 1920 divided subordinate Parliaments / Irish Free State Act 1922 gave Southern counties Dominion status / Ireland Act 1949 UK Parliament lost supremacy

Northern Ireland Act 1998:

  • Devolved legislative powers NI Assembly / power sharing executive / NI part of UK until majority referendum
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