Combatre la pandèmia de la COVID-19 a Escòcia

McCorkindale, Christopher and McHarg, Aileen (2020) Combatre la pandèmia de la COVID-19 a Escòcia. Revista Catalana de Dret Públic, 2020 (Specia). pp. 256-265. ISSN 1885-8252 (

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Scotland is a quasi-autonomous territory within the United Kingdom. It has its own legal system and extensive powers of self-government under a system of legislative devolution. In other words, the powers of the Scottish Government and Scottish Parliament derive from an Act of the United Kingdom (UK) Parliament – the Scotland Act 1998 (as amended) – and are not constitutionally entrenched. Within the UK, there are also systems of legislative devolution in Wales and Northern Ireland, but not in England – the largest, by some measure, of the four UK territories.1 The UK Government and Parliament therefore govern in some respects for the whole of the UK, but in other respects for England only. The response to the Covid-19 pandemic in Scotland has largely mirrored that elsewhere in the UK, reflecting the enmeshed legal competences of Scottish and UK governmental institutions, the fact that the four UK administrations were, at least to begin with, receiving the same expert advice, and the desire, again at least initially, for a common UK-wide approach to a common public health threat that does not respect jurisdictional boundaries. However, there have from the outset been differences in the legal basis of some measures taken to tackle the pandemic in Scotland, and differences of detail and emphasis. Those differences have increased over time. While there remains significant commonality in the types of measures taken in response to the pandemic in all four UK territories, more differences in the detail, timing and tone of the response have emerged. Indeed, it has been claimed that the four-nation approach to the pandemic has effectively been abandoned.2