Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Scotland ~ Constitutional Futures Forum ~ Scottish cases at Supreme Court

Edinburgh Castle
Back in January some interesting points arose regarding the question of a referendum on Scottish independence.  Please see the posts:

Scotland: We need to talk

Scotland's constitutional future: an influential Scottish voice

Scotland's (and UK's) future - more consultation

In the post, Scotland: We need to talk , I ventured to look at alternatives to full Scottish independence:

"... (a) devolution could be brought to an end; or (b) devolution could simply remain as it is or (c) continue with devolution but with fewer restrictions on the Scottish Parliament's legislative powers.  Either of (a) or (b) would, no doubt, be instantly ruled out as politically unacceptable and hardly merit further discussion.  Option (c) is essentially what is sometimes being referred to as "Devolution-Max" and might be a possibility.  A further alternative is that the separate nature of Scotland could be recognised by the United Kingdom becoming a FEDERATION.  I am of the view that this is not only possible but would offer a pragmatic way forward.  There are a number of notable federations - especially the USA; Mexico and Switzerland (the Confederation of Switzerland).  Within the British Commonwealth there are Canada (since 1867) and Australia (since 1901).  Belgium is instructive since, over the period 1970-93, it moved to federal system.  May I venture to suggest that a Federation with Scotland is not only a natural development from devolution but is also sensible."

Undoubtedly for political reasons, the federal option does not appear to be a serious contender at the moment but is so-called "devo-max" a million miles away from a federal solution? 

A new website has been set up Scottish Constitutional Futures Forum

The forum is a joint initiative of academics across the law schools of the Scottish universities.  It seeks to provide an independent framework within which the key questions concerning Scotland's constitutional future can be aired and addressed.  The site is well worth watching over the immediate future since there will be many aspects to the important debate on what amounts to the future of the United Kingdom even if that future is to be decided only by a referendum of the Scottish people.

See also Constitutional Law Group - News: Scotland's Constitutional Futures Forum launched 

Lallands Peat Worrier cogitates on the cases from Scotland which are to be heard in the Supreme Court of the UK this autumn - Baccymongers, bankers and The Supremes.   This is a blog with a very distinctive style and always well worth reading if you have even the slightest interest in things north of the border !  The Supreme Court has two justices from Scotland - Lord Hope (Deputy President) and Lord Reed - see Biographies.  They are in for a busy time!  (Note: Lord Reed sat in the Court of Session on one of the cases being appealed (Imperial Tobacco v Lord Advocate) and so he will not be sitting on the appeal in the Supreme Court).
Article in The Independent 4th October - Scotland might be hostage to Alex Salmond's vanity, but its best hope is to remain part of Britain


  1. The reason for the phenomen (disproportionate Scots appeals in SC) noted by Lallands Peat Worrier is that Scots civil appeals proceed to the SC as of right (in most cases) without the need for permission to appeal. All that is needed is 2 certificates from Scots Counsel to the effect that the appeal is reasonable. It is hard to change this rule as it is considered constitutionally sacred by Scots lawyers (it was in the Claim of Right). This means that the SC effectively has little control over the number of Scots civil appeals coming to it, unlike cases from E&W and NI. See here more http://ukscblog.com/civil-appeals-from-scotland