Scotland Act 1998
1998 Chapter 46 - continued
PART I, THE SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT - continued

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Duration of membership
Term of office of members.     13. The term of office of a member of the Parliament begins on the day on which the member is declared to be returned and ends with the dissolution of the Parliament.
 
Resignation of members.     14. A member of the Parliament may at any time resign his seat by giving notice in writing to the Presiding Officer.
 
 
Disqualification
Disqualification from membership of the Parliament.     15. - (1) A person is disqualified from being a member of the Parliament (subject to section 16) if-
 
 
    (a) he is disqualified from being a member of the House of Commons under paragraphs (a) to (e) of section 1(1) of the House of Commons Disqualification Act 1975 (judges, civil servants, members of the armed forces, members of police forces and members of foreign legislatures),
 
    (b) he is disqualified otherwise than under that Act (either generally or in relation to a particular parliamentary constituency) from being a member of the House of Commons or from sitting and voting in it,
 
    (c) he is a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary, or
 
    (d) he is an office-holder of a description specified in an Order in Council made by Her Majesty under this subsection.
      (2) An office-holder of a description specified in an Order in Council made by Her Majesty under this subsection is disqualified from being a member of the Parliament for any constituency or region of a description specified in the Order in relation to the office-holder.
 
      (3) In this section "office-holder" includes employee or other post-holder.
 
Exceptions and relief from disqualification.     16. - (1) A person is not disqualified from being a member of the Parliament merely because-
 
 
    (a) he is a peer (whether of the United Kingdom, Great Britain, England or Scotland), or
 
    (b) he has been ordained or is a minister of any religious denomination.
      (2) A citizen of the European Union who is resident in the United Kingdom is not disqualified from being a member of the Parliament merely because of section 3 of the Act of Settlement (disqualification of persons born outside the United Kingdom other than Commonwealth citizens and citizens of the Republic of Ireland).
 
      (3) Subsection (4) applies where a person was, or is alleged to have been, disqualified from being a member of the Parliament (either generally or in relation to a particular constituency or region) on any ground other than one falling within section 15(1)(b).
 
      (4) The Parliament may resolve to disregard any disqualification incurred by that person on the ground in question if it considers that-
 
 
    (a) the ground has been removed, and
 
    (b) it is proper to disregard any disqualification so incurred.
      (5) A resolution under this section shall not-
 
 
    (a) affect any proceedings under Part III of the Representation of the People Act 1983 as applied by an order under section 12, or
 
    (b) enable the Parliament to disregard any disqualification which has been established in such proceedings or in proceedings under section 18.
Effect of disqualification.     17. - (1) If a person who is disqualified from being a member of the Parliament or from being a member for a particular constituency or region is returned as a member of the Parliament or (as the case may be) as a member for the constituency or region, his return shall be void and his seat vacant.
 
      (2) If a member of the Parliament becomes disqualified from being a member of the Parliament or from being a member for the particular constituency or region for which he is sitting, he shall cease to be a member of the Parliament (so that his seat is vacant).
 
      (3) Subsections (1) and (2) have effect subject to any resolution of the Parliament under section 16.
 
      (4) Subsection (2) also has effect subject to section 141 of the Mental Health Act 1983 (mental illness) and section 427 of the Insolvency Act 1986 (sequestration etc); and where, in consequence of either of those sections, the seat of a disqualified member of the Parliament is not vacant he shall not cease to be a member of the Parliament until his seat becomes vacant but-
 
 
    (a) he shall not participate in any proceedings of the Parliament, and
 
    (b) any of his other rights and privileges as a member of the Parliament may be withdrawn by a resolution of the Parliament.
      (5) The validity of any proceedings of the Parliament is not affected by the disqualification of any person from being a member of the Parliament or from being a member for the constituency or region for which he purports to sit.
 
Judicial proceedings as to disqualification.     18. - (1) Any person who claims that a person purporting to be a member of the Parliament is disqualified or has been disqualified at any time since being returned may apply to the Court of Session for a declarator to that effect.
 
      (2) An application in respect of any person may be made whether the grounds on which it is made are alleged to have subsisted when the person was returned or to have arisen subsequently.
 
      (3) No declarator shall be made-
 
 
    (a) on grounds which subsisted when the person was returned, if an election petition is pending or has been tried in which the disqualification on those grounds of the person concerned is or was in issue, or
 
    (b) on any ground, if a resolution under section 16 requires that any disqualification incurred on that ground by the person concerned is to be disregarded.
      (4) The person in respect of whom an application is made shall be the defender.
 
      (5) The applicant shall give such caution for the expenses of the proceedings as the Court of Session may direct; but any such caution shall not exceed £5,000 or such other sum as the Scottish Ministers may by order specify.
 
      (6) The decision of the court on an application under this section shall be final.
 
      (7) In this section "disqualified" means disqualified from being a member of the Parliament or from being a member for the constituency or region for which the person concerned purports to sit.
 
 
Presiding Officer and administration
Presiding Officer.     19. - (1) The Parliament shall, at its first meeting following a general election, elect from among its members a Presiding Officer and two deputies.
 
      (2) A person elected Presiding Officer or deputy shall hold office until the conclusion of the next election for Presiding Officer under subsection (1) unless he previously resigns, ceases to be a member of the Parliament otherwise than by virtue of a dissolution or is removed from office by resolution of the Parliament.
 
      (3) If the Presiding Officer or a deputy ceases to hold office before the Parliament is dissolved, the Parliament shall elect another from among its members to fill his place.
 
      (4) The Presiding Officer's functions may be exercised by a deputy if the office of Presiding Officer is vacant or the Presiding Officer is for any reason unable to act.
 
      (5) The Presiding Officer may (subject to standing orders) authorise any deputy to exercise functions on his behalf.
 
      (6) Standing orders may include provision as to the participation (including voting) of the Presiding Officer and deputies in the proceedings of the Parliament.
 
      (7) The validity of any act of the Presiding Officer or a deputy is not affected by any defect in his election.
 
Clerk of the Parliament.     20. - (1) There shall be a Clerk of the Parliament.
 
      (2) The Clerk shall be appointed by the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body (established under section 21).
 
      (3) The Clerk's functions may be exercised by any Assistant Clerk if the office of Clerk is vacant or the Clerk is for any reason unable to act.
 
      (4) The Clerk may authorise any Assistant Clerk or other member of the staff of the Parliament to exercise functions on his behalf.
 
Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body.     21. - (1) There shall be a body corporate to be known as "The Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body" (referred to in this Act as the Parliamentary corporation) to perform the functions conferred on the corporation by virtue of this Act or any other enactment.
 
      (2) The members of the corporation shall be-
 
 
    (a) the Presiding Officer, and
 
    (b) four members of the Parliament appointed in accordance with standing orders.
      (3) The corporation shall provide the Parliament, or ensure that the Parliament is provided, with the property, staff and services required for the Parliament's purposes.
 
      (4) The Parliament may give special or general directions to the corporation for the purpose of or in connection with the exercise of the corporation's functions.
 
      (5) Any property or liabilities acquired or incurred in relation to matters within the general responsibility of the corporation to which (apart from this subsection) the Parliament would be entitled or subject shall be treated for all purposes as property or (as the case may be) liabilities of the corporation.
 
      (6) Any expenses of the corporation shall be payable out of the Scottish Consolidated Fund.
 
      (7) Any sums received by the corporation shall be paid into that Fund, subject to any provision made by or under an Act of the Scottish Parliament for the disposal of or accounting for such sums.
 
      (8) Schedule 2 (which makes further provision about the corporation) shall have effect.
 
 
Proceedings etc.
Standing orders.     22. - (1) The proceedings of the Parliament shall be regulated by standing orders.
 
      (2) Schedule 3 (which makes provision as to how certain matters are to be dealt with by standing orders) shall have effect.
 
Power to call for witnesses and documents.     23. - (1) The Parliament may require any person-
 
 
    (a) to attend its proceedings for the purpose of giving evidence, or
 
    (b) to produce documents in his custody or under his control,
  concerning any subject for which any member of the Scottish Executive has general responsibility.
 
      (2) Subject to subsection (3), the Parliament may impose such a requirement on a person outside Scotland only in connection with the discharge by him of-
 
 
    (a) functions of the Scottish Administration, or
 
    (b) functions of a Scottish public authority or cross-border public authority, or Border rivers functions (within the meaning of section 111(4)), which concern a subject for which any member of the Scottish Executive has general responsibility.
      (3) In relation to the exercise of functions of a Minister of the Crown, the Parliament may not impose such a requirement on-
 
 
    (a) him (whether or not he continues to be a Minister of the Crown), or
 
    (b) a person who is or has been in Crown employment, within the meaning of section 191(3) of the Employment Rights Act 1996,
  unless the exercise concerns a subject for which any member of the Scottish Executive has general responsibility.
 
      (4) But the Parliament may not impose such a requirement in pursuance of subsection (3) in connection with the exercise of functions which are exercisable-
 
 
    (a) by the Scottish Ministers as well as by a Minister of the Crown, or
 
    (b) by a Minister of the Crown only with the agreement of, or after consultation with, the Scottish Ministers.
      (5) Subsection (4)(b) does not prevent the Parliament imposing such a requirement in connection with the exercise of functions which do not relate to reserved matters.
 
      (6) Where all the functions of a body relate to reserved matters, the Parliament may not impose such a requirement on any person in connection with the discharge by him of those functions.
 
      (7) The Parliament may not impose such a requirement on-
 
 
    (a) a judge of any court, or
 
    (b) a member of any tribunal in connection with the discharge by him of his functions as such.
      (8) Such a requirement may be imposed by a committee or sub-committee of the Parliament only if the committee or sub-committee is expressly authorised to do so (whether by standing orders or otherwise).
 
      (9) A person is not obliged under this section to answer any question or produce any document which he would be entitled to refuse to answer or produce in proceedings in a court in Scotland.
 
      (10) A procurator fiscal is not obliged under this section to answer any question or produce any document concerning the operation of the system of criminal prosecution in any particular case if the Lord Advocate-
 
 
    (a) considers that answering the question or producing the document might prejudice criminal proceedings in that case or would otherwise be contrary to the public interest, and
 
    (b) has authorised the procurator fiscal to decline to answer the question or produce the document on that ground.
Witnesses and documents: notice.     24. - (1) A requirement under section 23 shall be imposed by the Clerk giving the person in question notice in writing specifying-
 
 
    (a) the time and place at which the person is to attend and the particular subjects concerning which he is required to give evidence, or
 
    (b) the documents, or types of documents, which he is to produce, the date by which he is to produce them and the particular subjects concerning which they are required.
      (2) Such notice shall be given-
 
 
    (a) in the case of an individual, by sending it, by registered post or the recorded delivery service, addressed to him at his usual or last known address or, where he has given an address for service, at that address,
 
    (b) in any other case, by sending it, by registered post or the recorded delivery service, addressed to the person at the person's registered or principal office.
Witnesses and documents: offences.     25. - (1) Any person to whom a notice under section 24(1) has been given who-
 
 
    (a) refuses or fails to attend proceedings as required by the notice,
 
    (b) refuses or fails, when attending proceedings as required by the notice, to answer any question concerning the subjects specified in the notice,
 
    (c) deliberately alters, suppresses, conceals or destroys any document which he is required to produce by the notice, or
 
    (d) refuses or fails to produce any such document,
  is guilty of an offence.
 
      (2) Subsection (1) is subject to sections 23(9) and (10) and 27(3).
 
      (3) It is a defence for a person charged with an offence under subsection (1)(a), (b) or (d) to prove that he had a reasonable excuse for the refusal or failure.
 
      (4) A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding three months.
 
      (5) Where an offence under this section which has been committed by a body corporate is proved to have been committed with the consent or connivance of, or to be attributable to any neglect on the part of-
 
 
    (a) a director, manager, secretary or other similar officer of the body corporate, or
 
    (b) any person who was purporting to act in any such capacity,
  he, as well as the body corporate, is guilty of that offence and liable to be proceeded against accordingly.
 
Witnesses and documents: general.     26. - (1) The Presiding Officer or such other person as may be authorised by standing orders may-
 
 
    (a) administer an oath to any person giving evidence in proceedings of the Parliament, and
 
    (b) require him to take the oath.
      (2) Any person who refuses to take an oath when required to do so under subsection (1)(b) is guilty of an offence.
 
      (3) Subsection (4) of section 25 applies to an offence under subsection (2) as it applies to an offence under that section.
 
      (4) Standing orders may provide for the payment of allowances and expenses to persons-
 
 
    (a) attending proceedings of the Parliament to give evidence, or
 
    (b) producing documents which they have been required or requested to produce,
  whether or not in pursuance of a notice under section 24(1).
 
      (5) For the purposes of sections 23 to 25 and this section, a person shall be taken to comply with a requirement to produce a document if he produces a copy of, or an extract of the relevant part of, the document.
 
Participation of the Scottish Law Officers.     27. - (1) If the Lord Advocate or the Solicitor General for Scotland is not a member of the Parliament-
 
 
    (a) he may participate in the proceedings of the Parliament to the extent permitted by standing orders, but may not vote, and
 
    (b) standing orders may in other respects provide that they are to apply to him as if he were such a member.
      (2) Subsection (1) is without prejudice to section 39.
 
      (3) The Lord Advocate or the Solicitor General for Scotland may, in any proceedings of the Parliament, decline to answer any question or produce any document relating to the operation of the system of criminal prosecution in any particular case if he considers that answering the question or producing the document-
 
 
    (a) might prejudice criminal proceedings in that case, or
 
    (b) would otherwise be contrary to the public interest.
 
 
 
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