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Public Law

Public Law (4th edn)

Mark Elliott and Robert Thomas
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date: 25 April 2024

p. 3138. Devolution and The Territorial Constitutionlocked

p. 3138. Devolution and The Territorial Constitutionlocked

  • Mark ElliottMark ElliottProfessor of Public Law, University of Cambridge
  •  and Robert ThomasRobert ThomasProfessor of Public Law, University of Manchester


This chapter focuses on the UK’s territorial constitution, that is, the governance arrangements that result in power being dispersed rather than concentrated in a single set of national institutions. Devolution involved creating new governments in Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales, and investing them with powers that were previously exercised at a UK level. Devolution in the UK is therefore intended to be part of the answer to questions that must be confronted in all political systems: where should governmental power lie? And at what level should laws be enacted and the business of government transacted? Local government plays a key role in decision-making, policy formulation, and the delivery of public services across a wide range of areas, including education, housing, personal social services, transport, and planning control.

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