Constitutional law Essay Example

"Devolution has been unqualified success. " With reference to the Scotland Act 1998, the legislation passed by Scottish Parliament and governance in Scotland since devolution, analyse this statement. Introduction Royal Commission defined Devolution as "the delegation of central government powers without the relinquishment of sovereighty. "1 In recent years we have seen some serious changes in the governance of Scotland. It was on the 1 May 1997 that the Labour government committed to a constitutional programme. It was one of the Labour party's declarations in 1997 that it was important to modernise the constitution.

By the end of that summer, they produced a White Paper on devolution to Scotland and had made legislative provision for referendums to be held in Scotland and Wales on whether devolution should take place. The referendums were held on 11 September and, with positive results in both apart from the fact it only just made it in Wales. The government brought forward the legislation that provided an establishment of a Parliament in Scotland and a National Assembly in Wales. However Scotland did not require legislative devolution until the Scottish Parliament came into force in 1999.

As for Wales and Northern Ireland they have their regional assemblies. Yet we question devolution, why? Well the reason is that devolution does not necessarily makes the government of Scotland easier for the unfamiliar to understand, although it has the best intentions, devolution has presented those who live, work and do business in Scotland to deal with another government as well as Westminster and Whitehall, and the institutions of the European Union. So devolution has not really worked in Scotland or has it? Lets review the facts! Footnote 1. p34 Convery.

J, Constitutional. Law Basics. W. Green. Edinburgh 1998. A little bit of History Scotland remained an independent land. It was not until 1707, things changed. Since then, there has been legal devolution to Scotland. This was when the union of governments and Parliaments occurred which in turn formed into "Great Britain". This was set out in the Act of Union 1907. It was under Chairmanship, Lord Kilbrandon that the Royal Commission on the constitution was set up, it was set up in response to a "surge in Nationalist support in Scotland and Wales in the late 1960's. "1

There was great pressure in the late 1960's for devolution in Scotland. "The circumstances of the 1970s were never particularly favourable to devolution. The proposals did not flow from a rational assessment of the deficiencies of the constitutional structure of the United Kingdom; rather, they were an expedient, intended to snuff out rising Nationalist support. "2 The issue caused a lot of problems and disputes. Most of the commissioners proposed initiatives of legislative and executive devolution in Scotland; there was only a minority that wished this in Wales. It was reported in 1973.

Footnote 1. p34 Convery. J, Constitutional. Law Basics. W. Green. Edinburgh 1998. 2. http://www. saltireguide. co. uk/secure/sal1-1. htm. The government in 1975 introduced a white paper outlining some proposals. "Our Changing Democracy: Devolution to Scotland and Wales. "1 This white paper then led the introduction of a bill for Scotland and Wales in the House of Commons in 1976 but it was withdrawn due to the fact it was badly drafted. However two separate bills for Scotland and Wales were laid out before the house of Common. Each of them was amended and both passed in 1978.

The Act similarly follows the plans in the White Paper. It was under this Act that under the scheme of devolution that new constitutional arrangements were made for Scotland. The main feature of the Act was to give "a positive vote in a referendum in Scotland, a Scottish Assembly and Scottish Executive would be set up. "1 It is set up differently from Westminster, in particular the election system. The Scottish Parliament's powers come from the 1998 Act. 2 Under section 28(7) "This section does not affect the power of the parliament for Scotland to make laws for Scotland.

"3 It also sets out the framework for devolution. Devolution has made changes beyond the establishment of a new representative body for which we must turn out and vote every four years. "That power to legislate for Scotland is not granted to the Scottish Parliament exclusively; even in those areas devolved to the parliament, the UK parliament retains the right to legislative for Scotland if it so wishes. "4 As Scotland's Parliament is governed by Westminster, there are 19 pages of powers in the Scotland Act that are spoken for by Westminster.

There are reserved matters that the Scottish Parliament cannot change as it is still governed by Westminster. The list can be found in the 1998 Act, schedule 5. More information can be found in Appendix D. The powers of the Scottish Assembly and Westminster were complicated. The Assembly only had the legislative power if it related to certain "devolved matters". The rest of it being down to Westminster. However many of the decisions or procedures will be placed with the Scottish Parliament. "This would have no effect on the sovereignty of Westminster Parliament over the whole of the United Kindom.

" The question was "Devolution has been unqualified success. " From the information gathered from above my answer would have to be yes. It still very much looks like the central government holds the purse strings to local and regional administration. I think it was Arnold Kemp who said it best: "To those who thought devolution should amount to no more than passive regional administration, this may seem something of an affront. And there will certainly be a row at Westminster if Scotland funds Sutherland in full and England does not.

But there is no point in having a parliament in Scotland unless it is prepared to make real choices. If this option is open to it then it should not be barred from it. "1 It is also a known fact that devolution has rarely led to any independence at all in any part of the world. If looking at an example, like China, China has 5 independents, each having their own governments. The Central Government grants the legislative power. However in the Constitution of the Republic of China, it is responsible for making the law.

All this just means is that the local government can self govern the region by simply following central government. Apparently this has worked well. 2 Even though Scotland has its own parliament it is still controlled by Westminster. Apparently questions have arisen to whether devolution would lead to the break up to the United Kingdom. However much independence of the regions is of the United Kingdom, I cannot see this, for many reasons being of which Central Government still has control over local governments.

The finances of the U. K. is still very much controlled by the Central Government, any money, even if it's tax-rising or law making powers is still down to the central government. Also I do not think most people would not opt to have a break up, and devolution has seldom lead to evidence of any independence all over the world, which includes the United Kingdom. I think that even with devolution in Scotland and Wales. It is still very much with central governed. The local government probably knows its people better than central government. I would also say that there is no major input coming from the vast majority of the country.