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Law Society of Scotland and Indyref

August 6, 2013

The Law Society published a report of its consultations on the independence issue on 5th August 2013. The report put its fingers on a number of relevant issues for the Scottish and UK governments – not least that of more clarity on positions and prospects.

The report is available here – http://www.lawscot.org.uk/indyref – with the report and its appendices available as PDFs on the menu on the right side of the page.

The report was good in setting some good questions for the two governments though perhaps stretching things a little by seeking ‘legal certainty’ on some questions. In relation to the EU, the Law Society asked for both governments to publish their legal advice on the issue of Scottish membership of the EU and also whether the Scottish Government’s negotiation timetable was realistic – not least what would happen if EU negotiations weren’t complete by May 2016:  would independence day be delayed or would Scotland be out of the EU temporarily before gaining official membership? The discussion of the processes of EU membership and the lack of a road map for becoming an independent member of the EU whilst already ‘inside’ the EU were particularly good though, not least in recognising the political dimension of the process [p.8].

Similarly, there were some good questions for the No campaign here. Not least, what does No mean? The report asked for clarity on the devolution proposals of the No parties. It recognised that the Liberal Democrats were the only ones to offer any clarity here and wanted more details of the devolution reform proposals, how they would work and their timetable for implementation [p.13]. Not that I expect we’ll get very good answers here.

Finally, there were questions about the operation of the sterling zone and what it would mean for Scotland and for Scottish interaction with the EU and European Central Bank, as well as the development of Scotland’s parliament and judiciary under independence and the development of the constitution and need for a supreme court.

 

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