Standing Orders of the Scottish Parliament
The Standing Orders are the rules of procedure for the Parliament.
They have been made in accordance with the Scotland Act 1998.
Some Standing Order rules have been suspended or varied for the duration of the public response to Covid-19.
- Previous versions of the Standing Orders
- Chapter 1 Members
- Chapter 2 Meetings of the Parliament
- Chapter 3 Officers of the Parliament and Other Officers
- Chapter 3A Parliamentary Corporation Supported Bodies
- Chapter 3B Scottish Parliamentary Pension Scheme Fund Trustees
- Chapter 3C Directions and resolutions under the Lobbying Scotland Act 2016
- Chapter 4 The Scottish Government
- Chapter 5 The Parliamentary Bureau and Management of Business
- Chapter 6 Committees
- Chapter 6A The Conveners Group
- Chapter 7 Conduct of Meetings
- Chapter 8 Motions and Points of Order
- Chapter 9 Public Bill Procedures
- Chapter 9A Private Bill Procedures
- Chapter 9B Consent in Relation to UK Parliament Bills
- Chapter 9BA Consent in relation to Orders under the Public Bodies Act 2011
- Chapter 9C Hybrid Bills Procedures
- Chapter 10 Subordinate Legislation Procedure
- Chapter 10A Proposals for European Union Legislation
- Chapter 11 Decisions and Voting
- Chapter 12 Committee Procedures
- Chapter 13 Statements and Parliamentary Questions
- Chapter 14 Laying and Publication of Documents
- Chapter 15 Openness and Accessibility
- Chapter 16 Reporting of Proceedings
- Chapter 17 Miscellaneous
Chapter 1 Members
Rule 1.1 The Scottish Parliament
1. The Scottish Parliament is established by the Scotland Act 1998 (c.46).
2. The members of the Parliament returned for each constituency or region shall be known as members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) and are referred to in these Rules as members.
Rule 1.2 Oath of allegiance
1. Every person who is returned as a member shall take the oath of allegiance or shall make a solemn affirmation at a meeting of the Parliament before the Clerk. A member shall not take part in any other proceedings of the Parliament until that member has done so.
2. A member may, immediately after taking the oath or making a solemn affirmation, repeat the oath or affirmation in a language other than English.
3. The member shall then sign a register kept by the Clerk for the purpose, indicating that the member has taken the oath or, as the case may be, made a solemn affirmation.
4. The Parliament’s power under section 84(3) (where a member fails to take the oath of allegiance) to decide, before the end of the period of 2 months within which a member must take the oath or make a solemn affirmation, to allow that member a longer period to do so is exercisable on a motion of any member. The motion is valid only if it is seconded by another member.
5. In these Rules, “oath of allegiance” means the oath in the form provided in section 2 of the Promissory Oaths Act 1868 (c.72) and “solemn affirmation” means the affirmation in the form provided in section 6(1) of the Oaths Act 1978 (c.19).
Rule 1.3 Term of office
1. The term of office of a member begins on the day on which the member is declared to be returned and ends with the dissolution of the Parliament or, if earlier, that member’s death or resignation.
2. A member may at any time resign that member’s seat by giving notice in writing to the Presiding Officer.
3. A member may also cease to be a member in accordance with section 17(1) or (2) (where a member is or becomes disqualified) or section 84(3) (where a member fails to take the oath of allegiance).
Rule 1.4 Disqualification
1. The Presiding Officer shall notify the Parliament where a person is, or is alleged to be, disqualified from being a member (either generally or for a particular constituency or region) on any ground other than one falling within section 15(1)(b) (disqualification otherwise than under House of Commons Disqualification Act 1975 (c.24)).
2. Any member may, within 3 sitting days of such notification, by motion propose that the Parliament disregard the disqualification because it is considered that the ground has been removed and that it is proper to disregard the disqualification. The motion is valid only if it is seconded by another member.
Rule 1.5 Vacancies
1. For the purposes of section 9 (constituency vacancies), the date on which a vacancy in the seat of a constituency member is to be treated as occurring shall be determined in accordance with paragraph 2. The Presiding Officer shall notify the Parliament of that date.
2. The date on which a constituency vacancy is to be treated as occurring is—
(a) in the case of a vacancy arising on the death of a member, the date of death;
(b) in the case of a vacancy arising on the resignation of a member, the date on which written notice of the resignation is given to the Presiding Officer;
(c) in the case of a vacancy arising under section 17(1) (effect of disqualification where a disqualified person is returned), the date on which the person concerned was returned as a member;
(d) in the case of a vacancy arising under section 17(2) (effect of disqualification where a member becomes disqualified), the date on which the member became disqualified;
(e) in the case of a vacancy arising under section 84(3) (failure of member to take the oath of allegiance), the expiry of the period of 2 months beginning with the day on which the member was returned or such longer period as the Parliament may have allowed; or
(f) in any other case, such date as the Presiding Officer may determine.
3. If, in any of the cases mentioned in paragraph 2(a) and (c) to (e), the vacancy does not come to the notice of the Presiding Officer within the period of one month beginning with its occurrence, the Presiding Officer shall notify the Parliament of the date when the vacancy did come to the Presiding Officer’s notice.
4. For the purposes of section 10 (regional vacancies), the date on which a vacancy in the seat of a regional member is to be treated as occurring shall be determined by the Presiding Officer. The Presiding Officer shall notify the Parliament of that date.
Rule 1.6 Code of Conduct
1.The Parliament may, on a motion of the committee mentioned in Rule 6.4, lay down a Code of Conduct for members. The Parliamentary corporation shall arrange for the Code of Conduct to be published.
Rule 1.7 Withdrawal of rights and privileges
1. The Parliament may, on a motion of the committee mentioned in Rule 6.4, withdraw from a member that member’s rights and privileges as a member to such extent and for such period as are specified in the motion.
Rule 1.7A Motion of censure
1. The Parliament may, on a motion of the committee mentioned in Rule 6.4, censure a member under section 17A of the Interests of Members of the Scottish Parliament Act 2006 (asp 12) (“the Interests Act”).
Rule 1.7B Other sanctions under Interests Act
1. The Parliament may, on a motion of the committee mentioned in Rule 6.4, impose on a member any of the sanctions referred to in section 17A(1)(a) and (b) and (2) of the Interests Act, in accordance with the terms of section 17A.
Rule 1.8 Members’ interests: Parliamentary determinations and resolutions
1. This Rule applies to a determination or resolution made (or proposed to be made) under the Interests Act.
2. Such a determination or resolution may be made by the Parliament on a motion of the committee mentioned in Rule 6.4.
3. The committee mentioned in Rule 6.4 shall consult other members about the effect of the proposed determination or resolution before a motion under paragraph 2 is lodged.
4. Paragraph 3 does not apply in relation to a determination under section 16 of the Interests Act.