The Scottish Parliament and law making
The Scottish Parliament and law making

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

1 Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs)

The Scotland Act 1998 established a Scottish Parliament with legislative powers. There were to be 129 seats in the Scottish Parliament. The Parliament was to be elected partly on the basis of proportional representation and assumed full powers on 1 July 1999. Terms of office of MSPs were to be for four years. The Scotland Act 1998 also established the Scottish Government (referred to as the executive until The Scotland Act 2012).

The Scottish Government consists of the First Minister (elected by the Scottish Parliament and appointed by the monarch), other ministers appointed by the First Minister, the Lord Advocate and the Solicitor General for Scotland. The law office for Scotland at the UK Parliament is now called the Advocate General for Scotland.

Members of the Scottish Government in March 2017
Figure 1 Members of the Scottish Government in March 2017

The Scottish Parliament is not responsible for organising or administering elections to the Scottish Parliament. You may recall from your studies of Week 2 that the separation of powers which underpins the rule of laws separates the function of the legislature (Scottish Parliament), executive (Scottish Government) and judiciary.

Aerial shot of Scottish Parliament
Figure 2 Aerial shot of Scottish Parliament

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371