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.


UK and International Relations Office (UKIRO)

The UK and International Relations Office (UKIRO) supports the Scottish Parliament in the development and implementation of its policy on international engagement and its links with other parliaments and overseas organisations.  In doing so, our aim is to enhance the profile and reputation of the Scottish Parliament, to exchange knowledge and ideas, and to develop our relationships with others.

ultra vires

When something is outwith a person or body's lawful powers.

union of the Crowns

The term used to describe what happened in 1603 when James VI of Scotland became also James I of England.

union of the Parliaments

The term sometimes used to describe what happened in 1707 when the 2 countries of Scotland and England united to form the new united kingdom of Great Britain, under the Treaty of Union, approved by Acts of the 2 Parliaments. Both Parliaments ceased to exist on the establishment of the new Parliament of Great Britain.

United Kingdom (UK)

The state comprising Great Britain (Scotland, England and Wales) and Northern Ireland.

Urgent questions

A question on an urgent matter which, if lodged by 10:00 on a day when the Parliament is meeting, may be asked that day if the Presiding Officer, applying different criteria from that used to determine an emergency question, is of the opinion that it is ‘sufficiently urgent’ (rule 13.8).

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