Law Society responds to the Smith Commission
The Law Society of Scotland has made its submission to the Smith Commission on the further devolution of powers to the Scottish Parliament, today October 31.
Michael Clancy, director of Law Reform at the Society said: “The Smith Commission is a very important review for the constitutional future of Scotland and our submission has been made to assist Lord Smith in examining possible new powers for the Scottish Parliament. Further devolution to Scotland raises complex political and legal issues which will require much thought and wide consultation to make it work.
“Our response highlights a number of factors which will need consideration not only by the Smith Commission, but by the Scottish and UK Governments, as well as all parties interested in Scotland’s constitutional future. These include the relationship between the UK and Scottish parliaments and the need for proper pre-legislative scrutiny in the Scottish Parliament in the event of new powers being devolved. Making sure that EU law is properly brought into Scots law, and that human rights are adequately protected in any new arrangements is also vitally important.
Mr Clancy continued: “Our response also looks at the further devolution of administrative law and justice and examines the case for the devolution of certain taxes and other areas currently reserved to the UK Parliament such as data protection, partnership law, elements of consumer protection law, the process and procedure of the employment tribunal system and health and safety law.
“The timetable is tight for the Smith Commission to produce Heads of Agreement before the end of November and for the UK Government to produce a draft bill by the end of January. There must be a proper opportunity for broad debate and consultation on these crucially important issues as the legislation proceeds.”
Note to Editors
The Law Society of Scotland maintains its non-partisan position in relation to Scotland’s constitutional future. The response focusses on the legal and technical implications of further devolution of powers.
The Society’s full submission to the Smith Commission can be found on our website.
For more information journalists can contact Louise Docherty on 0131 476 8204
31 October 2014