This appeal considered whether the UK Withdrawal from the EU (Legal Continuity) (Scotland) Bill, passed by the Scottish Parliament on 17 Apr 2018, is within the devolved legislative powers.

The Supreme Court unanimously held that the whole of the Scottish Bill would not be outside the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament. The Court held that the Scottish Bill does not relate to relations with the EU, and as such does not relate to a reserved matter. Rather, it simply regulates certain of the legal consequences of the cessation of EU law as a source of domestic law.

However, the Court considered that s 17 would be outside the legislative competence of the Parliament because it would modify the Scotland Act. This is because the UK Parliament has the power to authorise Ministers to make subordinate legislation, but the effect of s 17 would be to make the legal effect of such subordinate legislation conditional upon the consent of the Scottish Ministers. The imposition of this condition would be inconsistent with the recognition in the Scotland Act, s 28(7) that the UK Parliament has unqualified legislative power in Scotland.

The Court concluded that several provisions  of the Scottish Bill in whole or in part amount to modifications of the UK Withdrawal Act, and as such these would be outside the competence of the Scottish Parliament.

For judgment, please download: [2018] UKSC 64
For Court’s Press Summary, please download: Court’s Press Summary
For a non-PDF version of the judgment, please visit: BAILII

To watch the hearing, please visit: Supreme Court Website (24 Jul 2018 morning session) (24 Jul 2018 afternoon session) (25 Jul 2018 morning session) (25 Jul 2018 afternoon session)