An introduction to devolution in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
Produced in partnership with Andrew Mylne, Head of Non-Government Bills Unit, Scottish Parliament

The following Public Law practice note produced in partnership with Andrew Mylne, Head of Non-Government Bills Unit, Scottish Parliament provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • An introduction to devolution in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
  • Brexit impact—devolution
  • Devolved institutions and their law-making powers
  • The Scottish Parliament
  • The Welsh Parliament
  • Northern Ireland Assembly

An introduction to devolution in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

IP COMPLETION DAY: 11pm (GMT) on 31 December 2020 marks the end of the Brexit transition/implementation period entered into following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. At this point in time (referred to in UK law as ‘IP completion day’), key transitional arrangements come to an end and significant changes begin to take effect across the UK’s legal regime. This document contains guidance on subjects impacted by these changes. Before continuing your research, see Practice Note: What does IP completion day mean for public law?

Devolution is the process of pushing down decision-making to lower levels within the nation-state. Domestically, it refers to the process of giving the smaller nations within the UK their own parliamentary and governmental structures.

This Practice Note provides an overview of the relevant law-making bodies created by statute in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Brexit impact—devolution

The UK devolution structures involve complex interaction with EU law and EU competences, and are therefore impacted by the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. For general updates on the process and preparations for Brexit, see Practice Note: Brexit timeline. For further reading on the impact of Brexit on devolution, see News Analysis: Examining the impact of Brexit and UK-wide common frameworks on devolution.

Devolved institutions and their law-making powers

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland all have unicameral legislatures consisting of

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