chapter  20
19 Pages

The United Kingdom: The Ongoing Struggle to Achieve Legal Reform

BySHARON OWEN

Scotland became part of Great Britain under the Treaty of Union in 1707, when it lost its previously independent legislative powers. It regained many of these powers following devolution in the late 1990s and is now able to legislate on most areas of domestic policy, the exceptions being foreign affairs, defense and national security, economic and monetary policy, employment, and social security (Scotland Act 1998, Schedule 5). It has a separate judicial system, administering civil justice through the sheriff courts and the Court of Session (the supreme civil court) and criminal justice in the sheriff courts, the district courts and the High Court of Justiciary (Carter & Swift, 2009).