International Law, the Scottish Independence Debate and Political Settlement in the UK

A. McHarg, T. Mullen, A. Page, and N. Walker (eds) The Scottish Independence Referendum: Constitutional and Political Implications, Oxford University Press, 2016, Forthcoming

Edinburgh School of Law Research Paper No 2016/02

26 Pages Posted: 25 Jan 2016

See all articles by Christine Bell

Christine Bell

University of Edinburgh - School of Law

Date Written: January 24, 2016

Abstract

This chapter examines the role that international law played in the Scottish independence debates. I argue that international law - perhaps surprisingly - played a central role. International law was used by both ‘yes’ and ‘no’ campaigns in strategically instrumental ways, to bolster their political claims as to the consequences of independence. The unusual centrality of international law to British constitutional debate signals just how important international law has become with respect to processes of political settlement globally. I suggest that the creation of an international law of polity formation is itself a fast-moving international legal development, illustrating a dynamic whereby the attempt to regulate polity formation by reference to international legal argument carries an extraordinary capacity to re-shape international law. I suggest that this was the case with the Scottish independence referendum.

Keywords: Scottish independence, International law, Self-determination, Unionism, UK constitution

Suggested Citation

Bell, Christine, International Law, the Scottish Independence Debate and Political Settlement in the UK (January 24, 2016). A. McHarg, T. Mullen, A. Page, and N. Walker (eds) The Scottish Independence Referendum: Constitutional and Political Implications, Oxford University Press, 2016, Forthcoming; Edinburgh School of Law Research Paper No 2016/02. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2721286

Christine Bell (Contact Author)

University of Edinburgh - School of Law ( email )

Old College
South Bridge
Edinburgh, EH8 9YL
United Kingdom
00441316502012 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.ed.ac.uk/staff/christinebell/

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
117
rank
224,202
Abstract Views
454
PlumX Metrics