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About the Scottish Parliament

What are the powers of the Scottish Parliament?

The Scottish Parliament at Holyrood can pass laws on matters devolved to Scotland.


The Scottish Parliament is the result of a process known as “devolution”. Devolution allows decisions to be made at a more local level.

In the UK there are several examples of devolution, including the: 

Scotland is still part of the United Kingdom but, under devolution, the Scottish Parliament can make decisions on certain issues without needing approval from the UK Parliament. The UK Parliament in Westminster alone still makes decisions for the whole UK on certain issues.

Learn more about the UK Parliament

Devolved and reserved powers

Since 1999 the Scottish Parliament has the power to make laws on a wide range of issues.  These are known as devolved matters.

Some issues are the responsibility of the UK Parliament. These are known as reserved matters.  

The UK Parliament at Westminster has the power to make laws on any matter. However, the UK Parliament will not normally make laws on devolved matters without the consent of the Scottish Parliament.

Learn more about devolved and reserved powers

Legislative consent

The UK Parliament sometimes makes laws for Scotland about things that have been devolved to the Scottish Parliament. It usually does this only after the Scottish Parliament has given its agreement through a “legislative consent motion” (LCM).

MSPs can debate and vote on an LCM to give their views.

Find out more about LCMs

Who should I contact?

It is important to know whether the issue you’re interested in is devolved or reserved. This will determine whether you contact your:

If you are unsure who to contact, you can ask the Public Information team at the Scottish Parliament by:

Watch a BSL video about legislative consent

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