April 2016

The Society’s committees have been working on a number of Scottish Parliament and UK Parliament Bills and consultations including the Lobbying (Scotland) Bill, Abusive Behaviour and Sexual Harm (Scotland) Bill and Mandatory Pay Gap Reporting.

Key areas are highlighted below. For more information see the law reform section of the website.

Scotland Act 2016

The Scotland Act 2016 became law on 23 March 2016. This important piece of constitutional law seeks to implement the report of the Smith Commission which was set up in the wake of the Scottish independence referendum in September 2014.

The Act provides for the permanence of the Scottish Parliament and sets part of the Sewel Convention on a statutory footing (an issue which provoked a Parliamentary controversy between the Advocate General and a number of Crossbench and Opposition Peers).

The Act also provides the Scottish Parliament with increased powers covering income tax, air passenger duty, aggregate tax, welfare benefits and employment Support. The Parliament will also have power over the Crown Estate, Equal Opportunities, Tribunals – including Employment Tribunals, some aspects of road traffic law, the British Transport Police, consumer advocacy and advice, certain gaming machines and abortion.

The Society was closely involved in briefing MPs, and Peers of all parties during the passage of the Act and prepared many amendments to clarify aspects of the legislation. We also briefed and gave evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s Devolution (Further Powers) Committee to assist it in considering the bill. The Committee’s final Report cites the Society’s views on a number of aspects of the legislation.

The final report, and our other briefings, can be found on our website.