The Impact of Federalism on Secession Referendums: Comparing Scotland and Québec

Leah Trueblood, 'The Impact of Federalism on Secession Referendums: Comparing Scotland and Québec' in Keith Ewing and Chris McCorkindale (eds) Special Issue of the King's Law Journal, Forthcoming

17 Pages Posted: 24 Aug 2023

Date Written: August 11, 2023

Abstract

The secessionist experience in Québec looms large in Scotland. Comparisons made between the two jurisdictions are justified and important. Nevertheless, a significant difference between the two systems is underemphasised. Canada is a federal country. The United Kingdom is not. This constitutionally protected autonomy for Québec –Québec was not required to ask permission from Ottawa to hold referendums in 1980 and 1995– makes a material difference to the case for internal self-determination in the two jurisdictions. The case for internal self-determination, and so for holding unilateral secession referendums, is stronger and different in Scotland than it is in Canada. This is not to say that arguments for unilateral Scottish secession referendums may or must succeed either politically or legally. It is only to say that the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom was too quick in the Lord Advocate’s Reference to say that arguments about self-determination referendums have ‘equal force’ in both jurisdictions.

Keywords: referendums, secession, self-determination

Suggested Citation

Trueblood, Leah, The Impact of Federalism on Secession Referendums: Comparing Scotland and Québec (August 11, 2023). Leah Trueblood, 'The Impact of Federalism on Secession Referendums: Comparing Scotland and Québec' in Keith Ewing and Chris McCorkindale (eds) Special Issue of the King's Law Journal, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4538221 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4538221

Leah Trueblood (Contact Author)

Worcester College ( email )

Oxford
United Kingdom
07895445793 (Phone)
OX1 2HB (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.law.ox.ac.uk/people/leah-trueblood

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