Right First Time: a practical guide for public authorities to decision-making and the law - second edition

Right First Time is a practical guide for public authorities in Scotland to decision-making and the law.


Legal terms used in this guide

administrative law

Laws that apply to how public bodies carry out their functions. It is a type of public law that sets the parameters and the scope of the powers (which are explained further in question one) that officials can use when carrying out official duties.

convention rights

See ‘human rights’ below.

human rights

Rights protected by the European Convention on Human Rights (also known as “the Convention” or “the ECHR”), and given effect in Scotland by the Human Rights Act 1998 and the Scotland Act 1998. The European Convention on Human Rights is not part of EU law and it, and the legislation which gives effect to it, is not affected by the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. These human rights are also referred to in law and in this document as “the Convention rights”. See question eight: Will I be complying with human rights law?

judicial review

The procedure the Court of Session in Edinburgh uses to supervise decisions of public (and some other) authorities in Scotland.

the Scotland Act

The Scotland Act 1998 is the piece of legislation that established the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Government and gives them their powers. It has been amended by the Scotland Act 2012 and the Scotland Act 2016.


Acts of the Westminster or Scottish Parliaments, or regulations, orders or rules made under powers given to Ministers and others by Acts, often published as “Statutory Instruments” (“SIs”), or devolved Scottish Statutory Instruments (“SSIs”).

retained EU law

Laws which originally applied as a result of the UK’s membership of the European Union (EU). This law continues to apply in Scotland to the extent that it is part of domestic law. See question nine: Will I be complying with retained EU law?

ultra vires

Latin for “outwith the powers” of an authority. See question one: Where does the power to make this decision come from and what are its legal limits?



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