Contradictions abound in the debates leading up to the Scottish independence referendum. The SNP are positioned as Europhile nationalists who promise continued deference to sterling and the Queen. And the unionist ‘better together’ camp includes a large number of people who also insist that the UK is stronger for operating at the fringes of a larger union.
So far, so baffling for Scotland’s voters. What has been lacking is public debate on the implications for the law and the legal community. That is a shame. The ways in which Scotland already operates as a separate legal jurisdiction might point up some pros and cons of separation – and the impact that separation has on identity, confidence in the state and the role of the profession.
Useful illustrations for either camp. And if the poll looks to be close, well-planned businesses will be tasking lawyers with reviewing the impact on obligations and contracts.
The SNP independence manifesto includes an outline for a Scottish supreme court, and a promise that high-value civil cases, and the legal fees that come with them, will be kept for Scotland. Firm promises are made about the protection of human rights and membership of the European Convention on Human Rights.
The Law Society of Scotland is holding a conference on Scotland’s constitutional future on 10 April. It is an event that deserves much greater attention than the gimmickry of the rival cabinet meetings held in Aberdeen last month.