1.1 Reserved matters
The UK was formed approximately a century ago and its official title is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It consists of four nations: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
In 1998, following a series of referendums, powers to make laws in relation to a number of topic areas were devolved from the UK Parliament to legislatures in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. More powers have been devolved in subsequent decades.
The Scottish and Welsh Parliaments – the latter is commonly referred to as the Senedd – have powers to make laws on any matter that is not specifically reserved to the UK Parliament. There are also reserved and transferred powers in relation to law-making in Northern Ireland. (A full examination of devolved powers is beyond the remit of this course – if you want to find out more, please visit the resources section at the end of this session.)
The UK Parliament retains powers to make laws on all reserved matters, which include foreign affairs, social security, broadcasting and immigration. For the purposes of immigration and law, you therefore need to be familiar with the role and powers of the UK Parliament and UK Government.