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UK Withdrawal from the European Union (Continuity) (Scotland) Bill [2020]


This Bill aims to make sure that Scottish law can continue to align with EU law after 31 December 2020.

This Bill will help Scottish law keep up with future developments in EU law after 31 December. It will also allow changes to be made to EU laws which are already operating in Scotland. This could apply to areas that are devolved to Scotland, like the environment, agriculture and fisheries.

This Bill does 3 main things. It:

  • gives Scottish Ministers power to keep devolved laws similar to EU laws
  • ensures Scottish Ministers and public bodies pay attention to environmental principles when they make policies
  • sets up a new organisation to replace the oversight of environmental law provided by the EU

You can find out more in the Explanatory Notes document that explains the Bill.

Why the Bill was created

The UK left the EU on 31 January 2020. This is often referred to as ‘Brexit’. As part of Brexit, the UK and EU agreed to an implementation period which will come to an end on 31 December 2020. During the implementation period most EU laws will still apply to the UK, like they did before Brexit.

The EU has 4 core environmental principles which it uses when it is making laws that affect the environment. These are being brought into Scottish law as “guiding principles on the environment”. This Bill makes sure these principles will continue to influence our laws and policies.

The Bill also sets up a new organisation called Environmental Standards Scotland. It will be responsible for making sure that:

  • public bodies in Scotland apply environmental law
  • environmental law in Scotland is effective in protecting the environment and our wellbeing

You can find out more in the Policy Memorandum document that explains the Bill.

Where do laws come from?

The Scottish Parliament can make decisions about many things like:

  • agriculture and fisheries
  • education and training
  • environment
  • health and social services
  • housing
  • justice and policing
  • local government
  • some aspects of tax and social security

These are 'devolved matters'.

Laws that are decided by the Scottish Parliament come from:

Bill stage timeline

The UK Withdrawal from the European Union (Continuity) (Scotland) Bill [2020] is currently at Stage 1


The Scottish Government sends the Bill and related documents to the Parliament.

UK Withdrawal from the European Union (Continuity) (Scotland) Bill as introduced

Financial Resolution

The Presiding Officer has decided under Rule 9.12 of Standing Orders that a financial resolution is required for this Bill.

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