The people of Scotland share a common belief in the principles of liberty, fairness, tolerance and economic well-being for all, and now consider that there is a need for a written constitution to establish clear constitutional and representative democratic principles for Scotland. The SDA proposes a new written Scottish Constitution which will:

- provide a system of government based on the constitutional sovereignty of the people in which citizens elect individuals to represent them;

- set out the role of the people and their relationship with local and national government; the rights, freedoms and responsibilities of all citizens; the duties, authorities and limitations on the powers of the local and central government; provisions for external and internal security; for the defence of the people and territory of Scotland; and

- provide for a system of government in which power is shared equitably between local and national government and in which representatives of proven ability and public servants are openly held accountable to the people.


The Scottish people, being the supreme sovereign authority in Scotland, delegate to the Parliament of Scotland the power to govern the people and territory of Scotland in accordance with the following Constitution:-

Article 1: The territory of Scotland

1) The territory of Scotland will comprise all land, sea and airspace:

a) to the north of the border between Scotland and England that was established by the international Treaty of York 1237 between Alexander II, King of Scots, and Henry III, King of England, as adjusted by mutual agreement in 1552 (that border ran from the middle of the Solway Firth in the west to the middle of the estuary of the River Tweed in the east, and is the border that existed at the time of the 1707 union, irrespective of the English administration of the Scottish Berwick enclave, the North Sea marine border running due east from Berwick Harbour Light along a line of latitude at 55°45’53.28”N (not covered by any median line);

b) adjacent islands, including the Hebrides, Orkney, Shetland and the island of Rockall; and

c) sea areas surrounding Scotland to a limit of 200 nautical miles or to the relevant median lines, or to such wider limits as may in future be set or allowable by international law.

Article 2: The rights and freedoms of the people

1) The following rights and freedoms will be part of the law of Scotland, which may be amended only in accordance with the amendment provisions of this Constitution, and which guarantees that the people irrespective of gender have the rights and freedoms as set out herein; of thought, belief and expression; of the press and other media of communication; of peaceful assembly and association; of voting and standing for election to public office; of free life, liberty and security of person and to not be deprived thereof except in accordance with the law; and of the right to self-defence, the protection of the law, and of the right to be secure against unlawful search, seizure or forced entry.

2) It is the right of all persons in Scotland to live under our democratic system of representative government, elected by and accountable to a qualified and registered electorate.

3) All citizens have the right to enter, remain in, and leave Scotland; all citizens who have the status of permanent residents have the right to move to take up residence or pursue a livelihood anywhere in Scotland.

4) Everyone has the right, on arrest or detention, to be informed of the reasons therefor; to retain and instruct a lawyer and before being charged to be informed of that right, and to have the validity of the detention determined by way of habeas corpus, being a writ requiring persons to be brought into court for a judge to decide if their imprisonment is legal and to be released if the detention is not lawful.

5) Any person charged with an alleged offence has the right to be informed of the particulars of the alleged offence; to be tried within a stated elapse of time; not to be compelled to give evidence against himself; to be presumed innocent until proven guilty; to a public trial by an independent and impartial jury, or summarily by a sheriff or magistrate; not to be found guilty on account of any act or omission unless, at the time of the act or omission, it constituted an offence under Scots law; if acquitted of an alleged offence, not to be tried for it again unless new evidence be introduced and, if found guilty and punished for an offence, not to be tried and punished for it again, in accordance with Scots law.

6) A refusal by a witness to testify may not be considered as evidence or suspicion of guilt.

7) Every individual is equal before and under the law, and has the right to access protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination, whether based on ability to pay, race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, gender, age, mental or physical disability.

8) Scots, English and Scots Gaelic are the languages of Scotland and have equality of status, rights, and privileges in any debates or proceedings of parliament.

9) Notwithstanding, all written documentation purporting to be of a legal nature, and concerning the actions or deeds of either the Scottish Parliament or the Justice System, will be recorded in the English language, which will have precedence over any other written translations.

10) All children have the right to receive a free primary and secondary school education.

11) All citizens have the right of access to a competent level of healthcare.

12) The government must ensure that all persons have the right to die without avoidable pain, with dignity and with a minimum of distress.

13) All persons will have the right to freedom of information in relation to public organisations and public bodies.

14) The rights of the people of Scotland over the land, seas and natural resources of Scotland will be limited only by such agreements with other peoples, states, or international organisations as may freely be entered into by Scotland for the furthering of peace, trade and international cooperation.

Article 3: Government


x) The Parliament of Scotland has the powers previously held for the governance of Scotland by the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh, the UK Parliament in London and the European Union in Brussels.

1) The role of the government will be the provision of such public services as are required to ensure the security, social, and economic wellbeing, and development of the people and territory of Scotland; and the pursuance of the diplomatic and international obligations of a sovereign state.

2) There will be a National Parliament consisting of a Legislature, elected by and accountable to the registered electorate, together with an executive Cabinet of Ministers elected by the Legislature.

3) The Legislature will elect a First Minister and a Deputy First Minister; the Monarch will be crowned and sworn in as a non-executive Head of State who may only act on the advice of the Cabinet.

4) Executive power will be invested in the Cabinet of Ministers, the Cabinet being collectively responsible to Parliament for the governance of the state, the national fiscal policy and for maintaining a balanced budget.

5) The Legislature will be empowered to propose and enact legislation all such legislation having a term life of 25 years, thereafter falling redundant unless continued by parliament.

6) There will continue to be provision for the Law Commission to provide parliament with independent legal advice and recommendations for review of the law.

7) The Court of Session will continue protect the people from abuse of power by the Parliament.

8) There will be provision in law for referenda to obtain the people's decisions on issues of national importance, if either the Parliament or a petition signed by two fifths of the registered electorate so decides.

9) If two fifths or more of the electorate submits a petition to Parliament on any matter of concern to the people, the matter shall be put to a binding referendum.

Article 4: Voting

1) The exercise of the sovereignty of the people will continue to be vested in a qualified and registered electorate. Voting will continue to be by the single transferable vote system of proportional representation. The electorate will continue to include all citizens of age 18 or higher who are registered to vote in Scotland. Convicted criminals in custody will not have the right to vote.

Article 5: Members of Parliament

1) Members of Parliament will be elected for a four year term, in multi-seat constituencies.

2) The law will provide that all persons who want to stand as candidates for election must before applying have reached the age of twenty-five years be resident in the constituency in question; they will be required to present evidence of their knowledge, skills, competence and their decision-making experience to the electorate; and to present themselves for assessment at all election hustings across the constituency.

3) There will be a system to assess the performance of individual members of parliament and provision will be made in law for a number of voters in a constituency, representing at least three-fifths of the registered voters to petition Parliament to recall the mandate of the Member of Parliament of that constituency.

Article 6: Judiciary

1) In the exercise and function of its jurisdiction, the Judiciary is independent of the legislative and executive branches of government.

2) The highest judicial powers of Scotland will be vested in the Court of Session for civil cases and in the High Court of Justiciary for criminal cases, these courts continuing to have jurisdiction over all civil and criminal cases exercising the highest Scottish appellate jurisdiction. There will be continue to be laws for provision of lower courts and tribunals, and for a comprehensive system of appeals; the appointment of judges of courts and tribunals at all levels being as established this constitution.

3) The Court of Session will have the power to declare any Act of Parliament or other law which is not compatible with this Constitution to be null and void to the extent of its incompatibility.

Article 7: Amendment of the constitution

1) Proposals to amend one or more provisions in this Constitution require approval by a three-fifths majority of Parliament, following approval in a referendum by a three-fifths majority of the registered electorate.

Article 8: Local government

1) The role of local government will be the cost-effective implementation provision of local public services for the general welfare, the social needs of the people and the development of the local economy.

x) Local Government will consist of administrative regions call 'Shires' [the number as determined by a Scottish Boundary Commission]; each Shire to be granted significant autonomous powers; three of the administrative and electoral regions to be the three island areas viz. the Orkney Isles, the Shetland Isles and the Eileanan nan Siar defined as semi-Shires.

2) The 'Shires', administered by elected councils, will be sub-divided into Burghs administered at local level by elected councils. Both levels of local government, Shire and Burgh, will be responsible for the provision of specific public services and functions, in accordance with Scots law.

3) Members of the Shire councils will be elected for a four year term on the basis of a single commissioner for each burgh; each Burgh will have its own council comprising of Burgh-resident members also elected for a four year term.

x) All registered voters are entitled to vote in Shire and Burgh council elections.

4) Persons wishing to stand as candidates for election as Commissioners or Councillors must have reached the age of twenty-five and be resident in the burgh in question; they will be required to present evidence of their knowledge, skills, competence and decision-making experience to the electorate and to present themselves for assessment at all election hustings across the burgh they wish to represent.

5) There will be a system to assess the performance of individual Commissioners and Councillors and provision will be made for a number of persons in a burgh, being at least three-fifths of the registered electorate, to petition to recall the mandate of Commissioner or Councillor.

Article 9: General provisions

1) There will be a Scottish Defence Force for the defence and security and defence of the people and territory of Scotland; Parliament may provide for participation in such UN and NATO humanitarian and peacekeeping operations as may be agreed.

2) Domestic law will be enforced by a national police force; the law will provide for co-operation with international law enforcement agencies.

3) There will be a state National Bank, a National Investment Bank, a Treasury, and a Mint which will issue Scotland’s currency; the unit of banknote currency of Scotland will be the Scots Merk.

4) There will be independent supervisory authorities viz: the Auditor General and the Parliamentary Ombudsman to maintain standards of public administration and of public bodies.

5) The State guarantees the protection of traditional family units which are the natural primary and fundamental unit group of society, moral institutions possessing inalienable and imprescriptible rights, antecedent and superior to all law.

6) All citizens will be obliged to act in a responsible manner, observing the culture, traditions and social norms of all members of Scotland's society, providing consideration and respect for fellow citizens.

7) Parliament may not enact any law or emergency provision allowing for the imposition of the death penalty even during a time of war or armed rebellion.

8) Parliament may declare a national emergency during which temporary laws may be passed granting parliament emergency powers that could otherwise be unconstitutional; during and after an emergency the actions of the executive cannot be found to be unconstitutional provided they are pursuing the humane conclusion of the emergency; emergency powers will however be restricted to the duration of the emergency.

9) The Government is authorised to enter into treaties, international agreements and membership of international organisations in the name of Scotland. Such commitments are always subject to ratification by Parliament. Where transfer of sovereignty is involved a referendum must be held, and this may be demanded in any such case under the relevant constitutional procedure as in Article 3(8) above. All such international commitments must comply with this constitution and be revocable at any time in accordance with the sovereignty of the Scottish people.

Dedicated to my wife Mary and to the Scots.
Michael HAMILTON Kelso 18 July 2011.