Video: Cambridge Centre for Public Law event on the Scottish Continuity Bill case

I have written before about the Supreme Court’s judgment, given in December 2018, in the ‘Scottish Continuity Bill case’ [2018] UKSC 64. The Continuity Bill was adopted by the Scottish Parliament against the background of serious disagreement between the Scottish and UK Governments concerning the UK Parliament’s European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (on which see this post). That disagreement resulted in constitutional deadlock when the Scottish Parliament withheld its consent to the UK legislation, the deadlock ultimately being broken by the UK Parliament’s preparedness to enact the EU (Withdrawal) Act in spite of the Scottish Parliament’s refusal, under the Sewel convention, to grant its consent.

The UK legislation makes provision for the domestication of EU law and the retention of existing EU-derived domestic law, to ensure a high degree of continuity in the legal rules applicable in the UK when it leaves the EU. The Scottish legislation makes largely parallel provision concerning the applicability of EU and EU-derived law in Scotland. Crucially, however, the two pieces of legislation differ in significant respects. The key question for the Supreme Court was whether the Scottish Parliament acted within its legal powers by enacting the Continuity Bill, bearing in mind the limits that the Scotland Act 1998 places on that Parliament’s authority.

The Cambridge Centre for Public Law recently held an event to discuss the Supreme Court’s judgment in the Continuity Bill case. The event was chaired by Dr Shona Wilson Stark, and included three short talks on the case. I gave an overview of the background to the case and of the constitutional issues raised by it, while my colleagues Professor Alison Young and Dr Paul Daly examined specific aspects of the case and considered how the case might impact upon the law and politics of the UK’s territorial constitution. The event was recorded (for which thanks are due to our colleague Daniel Bates) and can viewed here.