Section 53 of the Scotland Act 1998 (c.46) provides for the transfer to the Scottish Ministers of the functions in relation to observing and implementing obligations under EU law in areas within the devolved legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament. When a Directive covers a devolved policy area it is therefore for the Scottish Government to transpose it into Scots law. On rare occasions the Scottish Ministers will allow the UK Government to bring forward UK-wide legislation on a devolved matter, if it makes sense to do so. This is done under section 57(1) of the Scotland Act. Sometimes Scotland will do the same as the other administrations and other times Scotland will take a different route, it depends what course of action gives the best result for the Scottish public. Policy officials will consider what options are available and will speak with colleagues in the other UK administrations to share ideas and issues.
Development of legislative proposals
Scottish Ministers also attend EU Council meetings on the development of Directives to ensure that Scottish interests are taken into account. The Scottish Government works closely with the UK Government in these discussions with the other Member States. There is a lot of negotiation which takes place before a legislative proposal becomes a directive.
Implementation of legislation approved by the EU
Directives are published in the EU Journal. Scottish Ministers consider how best to implement its requirements, in consultation with stakeholders.
A course of action is decided on and transposing legislation is put before the Scottish Parliament. This will usually be in the form of a Scottish Statutory Instrument, but sometimes an Act of the Scottish Parliament is more appropriate.
Further guidance on legislative procedure can be obtained from the Scottish Government's Guide to handling EU Objectives which sets out how to implement EU directives effectively. The process for the transposition and implementation of EU legislation in the UK is set out in the Concordat on Co-ordination of European Union Policy.
Reports on Transposition of EU Directives
The Europe and External Relations Committee of the Scottish Parliament regularly receives reports from the Scottish Government regarding our transposition of EU Directives. This sets out the directives currently being transposed in Scotland, their transposition deadlines, and further action required to complete transposition into Scots law.