How to find Scottish law

This guide explains how to find Scottish law in our library and online.

Primary legislation

1999 to present

Since devolution in 1999, Scottish primary legislation is made of UK Acts of Parliament and Acts of the Scottish Parliament. You can find legislation from 1999 onwards using:

  • Acts of the Scottish Parliament – Bay 202
  • Current Law Statutes Annotated – Bay E
  • legislation.gov.uk (as enacted and as amended)

You can also use the online subscription service databases available in our library:

  • Justis (as enacted)
  • Public Information Online (as enacted)
  • LexisLibrary (as amended)
  • Westlaw UK (as amended)

1707 to 1999

From 1707, all Scottish Acts of Parliament were made in Westminster. Some apply to the whole of the UK, others just to Scotland. You can find post-1707 Acts of Parliament that apply to Scotland in:

  • Public and General Acts – Bays 168 to 170
  • Current Law Statutes Annotated – Bay E
  • HM Stationery Office Index to the Statutes (1235 to 1990) – Bay N7
  • Justis (as enacted)
  • Westlaw UK (as amended)
  • legislation.gov.uk (as enacted and as amended)

Acts of the UK Parliament that apply exclusively or primarily to Scotland are not found in Halsbury’s Statutes or LexisLibrary.

Pre-1707

Scottish statutes were made by the Parliament of Scotland before 1707. You can find Acts of the Old Scottish Parliament using:

  • Acts of the Parliaments of Scotland (12 volumes) – onsite storage
  • Chronological Table of Statutes volume two, Scottish table – Bay N7
  • Westlaw UK – if still in force in 1991
  • legislation.gov.uk – some acts from 1424 to 1707

Amendments

To find out whether Scottish primary legislation has been amended, use:

  • Chronological Table of the Statutes – amendments from 1225 to 2015 (Bay N7)
  • Current Law Legislation Citator – Bay E
  • Public and General Acts – the table of effects in the annual Tables and Indexes volumes (Bays 168 to 170)
  • Westlaw UK
  • LexisLibrary
  • legislation.gov.uk

Commencement

To find out when Scottish primary legislation came into force, use:

  • Halsbury’s Is it in force? – from 1980 onwards (Bay 61)
  • LexisLibrary
  • Westlaw UK

Secondary legislation

Statutory instruments (SIs) made by the UK Parliament that apply exclusively or primarily to Scotland have ‘(Scotland)’ in the title and an additional number such as ‘(S.55)’.

Since July 1999, there has been a separate series of Scottish statutory instruments (SSIs) made by the Scottish executive.

You can find Scottish secondary legislation using:

  • Index to Government Orders annual and monthly catalogues – Bay N
  • HMSO/TSO bound volumes – Bays 171 to 177
  • Justis – SIs and SSIs (as enacted)
  • LexisLibrary – SSIs from 1999 onwards (as amended)
  • Westlaw UK – SIs from 1974 and SSIs (as amended)
  • legislation.gov.uk – SIs from 1987 and SSIs (as enacted)

Updating statutory instruments

You can update SIs and SSIs using:

  • Table of Government Orders 1990 – lists changes to 1990 (Bay N7)
  • Table of SIs affected in Current Law Yearbook – from 1991 to 1992 (Bay D)
  • Current Law Legislation Citator – from 1993 onwards (Bay E)
  • WestlawUK – SIs from 1974 onwards and SSIs (as amended)

SSIs are not found in Halsbury’s Statutory Instruments.

Law reports

  • Session Cases – official law reports of Scotland, 1907 onwards (Bays 199 to 200)
  • Scots Law Times – articles, news and law reports, 1893 onwards: bound volumes from 1955 (Bays 195 to 196); earlier volumes (onsite storage)
  • Scots Revised Reports – reprints of Scottish nominate reports from 1821 to 1873 (Bay 197)
  • Greens Weekly Digest – alerting service of case summaries from 1986 to 2018 (Bay 196)

You can find Scottish law reports online using:

How to find and update cases

  • English and Empire Digest – older cases (Bays A to C)
  • Scots Digest – older cases (Bay 197)
  • Scots Law Times – an annual index of names of parties and a general subject index from 1893 onward: bound volumes from 1955 (Bays 195 to 196) and earlier volumes (onsite storage)
  • Current Law Case Citators and Current Law Monthly Digests – cases from 1989 onwards (Bay D)
  • Green's Weekly Digest 1986-2018 is indexed annually – Bay 196
  • Scottish Current Law Case Citator – cases from 1948 to 1971, 1973, 1977 to 1988, and 1989 to 1990 (Bay 197)
  • Westlaw UK – case analysis includes judicial consideration

Maximise your Law Society membership with My LS