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Secondary legislation

Find out about secondary legislation


What is secondary legislation?

Secondary legislation lets the Scottish Government (or in some cases the Lord President of the Court of Session and Lord Justice General of Scotland, who is the most senior judge in Scotland) make changes to laws. These changes are known as secondary legislation.

Secondary legislation can:

  • give more information about how a law will operate
  • be used to say when parts of the new Act should become law (when a bill is passed, it doesn’t always become law straight away)
  • keep existing laws up to date

Secondary legislation can also be called:

  • subordinate legislation
  • regulations
  • SSIs (Scottish Statutory Instruments)
  • delegated legislation

Most Bills have plans to make secondary legislation in them. Secondary legislation has the same legal status as Bills but does not take as long for the Parliament to look at. Usually secondary legislation takes around 40 days to get through Parliament.