Following the First Minister's statement today on the Scottish Government's plans for a second Scottish independence referendum, Murray Etherington, President of the Law Society of Scotland has made the following statement.

"The 2012 Agreement between the Scottish and UK governments provided legal certainty and political clarity for the referendum. Whatever your view on the outcome of the vote, the vast majority accepted that referendum as a fair and proper democratic process. That was vital given the historic nature of the decision being asked.

"Any bill for a further independence referendum needs to be legally clear and command the confidence of parliaments, governments, and people. It also needs to deliver a fair test and decisive expression of views of the people of Scotland.

"The provision of a new section 30 order would put the competence of the bill beyond doubt. If there is no section 30 order, there will be a lack of clarity and certainty about the legality of the legislation. These are issues which the courts would have had to decide on, so the Lord Advocate’s referral to the Supreme Court offers an opportunity to address and resolve these key questions."

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