The glossary provides definitions for parliamentary terms to help you understand the Parliament and how it works.  The terms are arranged alphabetically so select a letter to find the term you would like to have explained.


Joint Ministerial Committee (JMC)

An inter-governmental committee consisting of UK Government, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland Ministers.

Journal of the Scottish Parliament

The authoritative record of what the Parliament has done.


The arrangements for the appointment and removal of Scottish judges are set out in section 95 of the Scotland Act 1998. Under these provisions, the Scottish Parliament has a key role in the procedures for the removal of a judge of the Court of Session or of the Chairman of the Scottish Land Court. The Scottish Parliament’s powers to summon witnesses or demand the production of documents cannot be imposed on a judge of any court (section 23(7)(a) of the 1998 Act).

Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (JCPC)

The Scotland Act 1998 gives the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council an important role in the resolution of legal issues arising from devolution, for example whether bills passed by the Scottish Parliament are within its legislative competence (section 103 and schedule 6). It can also decide, on appeal or otherwise, on other ‘devolution issues’, and its decisions will be binding on all other courts. For devolution purposes, the JCPC consists of Law Lords and others holding high judicial office, such as judges of the Court of Session.

junior Scottish Ministers

The term used in the Scotland Act 1998 (section 49) to denote Ministers in the Scottish government who are appointed by the First Minister, with the approval of the Scottish Parliament, to assist the Scottish Ministers in the exercise of their functions. Junior Scottish Ministers (known by the current government as Minister) are not members of the Scottish Executive or the Cabinet but are bound by the principle of collective responsibility under which the Executive operates.

Justice Committee

A subject committee of the Parliament, the remit of which is to consider and report on matters falling within the responsibility of the Cabinet Secretary for Justice.

(As agreed by resolution of Parliament on 1 June 2016).

Justice Sub-Committee on Policing

A sub-committee of the Justice Committee, the remit of which is to consider and report on the operation of the Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Act 2012 as it relates to policing. (As agreed by resolution of Parliament on 6 October 2016).  Duration: Until the end of the 5th Parliamentary session.

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