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right first time: A practical guide for public authorities in Scotland to decision-making and the law



Legal terms used in this guide

the Court

Usually the Court of Session in Edinburgh by judicial review (see below).

Other courts like the Sheriff Court will also enforce the rules described in this guide, e.g. in specific areas like licensing appeals, or if human rights and European law issues arise.

European law

The law which applies as a result of UK membership of the European Union, mainly the law of the European Community. See Question 8 and Annex 2.

Also known as "Community law", EC law or EU law.

human rights

The rights protected by the European Convention on Human Rights (also known as "the Convention") - not directly related to European law (see above).

Also known as ECHR or "Convention rights". See Annex 1.

judicial review

The procedure the Court of Session in Edinburgh uses to supervise decisions of public (and some other) authorities in Scotland. See Annex 3.

the Scotland Act

The Scotland Act 1998 is the piece of legislation that established the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Government (although referred to in the Act as the Scottish Executive) and gives them their powers.


Acts of the Westminster or Scottish Parliaments.

Also covers 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").

ultra vires

Latin for "outwith the powers" of an authority. See Question 1.