Had Scotland voted 'Yes' to independence on 18 September 2014, today would have been the day envisaged as 'independence day' (Christine commented on the proposed timetable in the Scotland on Sunday).

This date was chosen because it was thelast day of the current Scottish Parliament term before May's election. It is perhaps then appropriate that the Scotland Bill, which devolves a significant raft of powers including (amongst other things) control over income tax levels, the Crown Estate and abortion laws to Holyrood, was passed by the House of Commons and received Royal Assent last night. It is now the Scotland Act 2016.

It was approved by the House of Lords on Monday after several amendments were adopted. The amendments from the Lords were accepted by the Commons yesterday.

We have commented extensively on the Scotland Bill, from its inception in the form of the post-referendum Smith Commission's report (see here, here and here) to the first draft published by the UK Government (see here) and to the introduction and passage of the Scotland Bill through Westminster (see here and here). We will be watching with interest to see what the various parties propose to do with the new powers if they are successful on 6 May.


Christine O'Neill KC

Chair & Partner