Scotland and the EU

There is to be a vote on independence for Scotland on the 18 September 2014.

As a law student you may have mastered the complexities and niceties of EU law as it affects EU member states but this is no time to relax as a new dilemma now awaits you – the question of how Scottish independence affects the law? There is to be a vote on independence for Scotland on the 18 September 2014.


On one level you may be tempted to think that any problems are likely to be minimal as the law in Scotland is not the same as the law in England and Wales. It could be argued that the problem does not arise unless and until there is a successful vote in favour of independence. The issue however is one of certainty in the law and one can imagine that in a number of areas the law may be found wanting unless there is certainty as to the legal position. The doctrine of precedent is based on the need for certainty in the law and it is this certainty that leads to consistency and fairness . Most law students can rely upon the syllabus for the law course they are following but, for those with wider interests, that is no consolation and many may well want answers to questions well before the time of the vote.


So what do we know? The Scottish government has said it expects to negotiate membership of the EU. Others may argue that this is rather presumptuous and overlooks the possibility that negotiations may be necessary and that this in itself would be a responsibility that goes with the territory so to speak..


There are many questions which remain unanswered including such issues as the role of a Supreme Court. Currently the Supreme Court is the highest court of appeal in relation to Scottish civil cases. In Scottish criminal cases, however, the High Court of Justiciary sitting as an appeal court is the final court of appeal with the exception that the Supreme Court may consider 'devolution issues' arising in Scottish criminal cases


This may be interesting food for debate but what happens to commercial and contractual arrangements in the meantime? Are they to continue unaffected? Are they to be subject to some transitional measures? If so, how are these to be determined and by whom?


UK Supreme Court

Role of The Supreme Court - The Supreme Court

Scottish Courts

Supreme Court Review Group - Scottish Government

UK Europe minister: independent Scotland's EU membership could ...

Law Society wants clarity on Scotland's future with the EU | UK …

Call for governments to reveal legal advice on Scotland's EU status ...


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