Scotland, Secession, and the European Union

22 Pages Posted: 16 Jan 2019

See all articles by Sionaidh Douglas-Scott

Sionaidh Douglas-Scott

University of Oxford - Faculty of Law; Queen Mary University of London

Date Written: January 16, 2019


This paper discusses Scotland’s relationship with the EU in the context of two different secession events. The first concerns the question of an independent Scotland’s EU membership in the event of Scotland’s secession from the UK. The second discusses the position of Scotland in the context of a UK in-out referendum on EU membership. This chapter concludes that in neither case should Scotland be forced to leave the EU against its will.

The context of both of these secession movements is a sense of shifting constitutional loyalties, and a concern about the nature and bounds of the political community and locus of ultimate authority. In some cases, this results in a claim for statehood, in others, for self-government. In investigating this context, there are interesting insights to be had as to the nature of the EU and the British constitution.

This paper was published as chapter 8 of The Scottish Independence Referendum: Constitutional and Political Implications eds McHarg, Mullen, Page and Walker (Oxford University Press, 2016).

Suggested Citation

Douglas-Scott, Sionaidh, Scotland, Secession, and the European Union (January 16, 2019). Queen Mary School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 301/2019, Available at SSRN:

Sionaidh Douglas-Scott (Contact Author)

University of Oxford - Faculty of Law ( email )

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Queen Mary University of London ( email )

School of Economics and Finance
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