The Scottish Continuity Bill Reference

Aileen McHarg

Research output: Non-textual formBlog Post


The Continuity Bill was passed by the Scottish Parliament (alongside a similar Welsh Bill) in the context of the dispute between the Scottish and Welsh Governments, on the one hand, and the UK Government, on the other hand, over those aspects of what is now the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 which affect devolved competence. Unhappy with the way in which the then Withdrawal Bill dealt with the repatriation of decision-making powers from the EU, both devolved governments indicated that they would recommend that their respective legislatures withhold consent to the Bill (required under the Sewel Convention). On the assumption that refusal of consent would mean that the Withdrawal Bill would be amended so as not to apply to devolved matters in Scotland or Wales, this would have left a legal lacuna that the Scottish and Welsh Continuity Bills were intended to fill. They did so by providing for EU law to remain in effect in relation to devolved matters after exit day (retained (devolved) EU law), and by giving devolved ministers powers to adjust the devolved statute books to deal with deficiencies arising from Brexit, largely – but not entirely – mirroring the provisions of the Withdrawal Bill itself.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationEdinburgh
Publication statusPublished - 18 Dec 2018


  • continuity bill
  • Scotland
  • Brexit
  • devolution


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