The Contested Boundaries of Devolved Legislative Competence

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventOrganising a conference, workshop, ...


The Contested Boundaries of Devolved Legislative Competence: Securing Autonomy and Effectiveness
Public Seminar by Prof Aileen McHarg
In recent years, there has been significant controversy around the boundaries of devolved legislative competence. This has manifested in a number of highly contested changes to the devolution legislation and surrounding constitutional frameworks, as well as more frequent resort to the courts to resolve disputes about devolved competence. Much – although not all – of this controversy is attributable to the Brexit process and its ongoing repercussions. The net effect has been to substantially increase the complexity of constraints on devolved legislative competence, with implications for the autonomy, effectiveness, and intelligibility of law-making at the devolved level. This paper explored three inter-related reasons for increased controversy around devolved legislative competence: the greater complexity of the devolved law-making environment; increasing willingness to resort to the courts to resolve disputes over the boundaries of devolved competence; and the impact of recent Supreme Court jurisprudence. It also considered the principles which ought to inform the boundaries of devolved competence and the determination of boundary disputes, as well as potential options for improving the security and effectiveness of devolved law-making, and the accessibility and intelligibility of constraints upon devolved competence.
Aileen McHarg has been Professor of Public Law and Human Rights at Durham University since 2019. She previously taught at the Universities of Strathclyde, Glasgow and Bristol. She has written widely on UK and Scots public law, but she has a particular interest in devolution and the development of the UK’s territorial constitution. Amongst other things, she is joint General Editor of Public Law and co-chair of the British-Irish Chapter of the International Society of Public Law.
Dr Mark Simpson chaired the seminar which was organised by Prof Rory O'Connell
This event was hosted by the School of Law, Ulster University in the new Belfast Campus, Moot Court Room BC-07-313, York Street, Belfast BT15 1ED.
Period23 Nov 2022
Event typeSeminar
LocationBelfastShow on map