The mechanics of devolution
Produced in partnership with Dr Kirsty Hood QC of Hastie Stable
The mechanics of devolution

The following Public Law guidance note Produced in partnership with Dr Kirsty Hood QC of Hastie Stable provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • The mechanics of devolution
  • Brexit impact—devolution
  • Why is there variation in the devolution of powers, and their exercise within the constitutional structure of the UK?
  • Exercise of powers
  • England
  • Scotland
  • Wales
  • Northern Ireland

There is a devolved legislature (and executive branch) in three of the component parts of the United Kingdom. However, the way in which powers are devolved to each of those legislatures is not uniform, and a large part of the UK does not have any form of devolved legislature interposed between the UK Government at Westminster and its citizens. This Practice Note explains the background to the various approaches, and gives an overview of the way in which powers are devolved, and how those devolved powers are exercised.

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.

Why is there variation in the devolution of powers, and their exercise within the constitutional structure of the UK?

In order to understand the current constitutional structure of the UK, and the mechanics of the devolution arrangements, it is necessary to place this in the context of how this state was formed, and developed over the intervening years.

Great Britain was established in 1707, by means of