§ Lord James Douglas-Hamilton
asked the Prime Minister what responsibilities or functions have been transferred from the Lord Advocate's Department to the Scottish Office during the past 10 years; and if he will list their current responsibilities.
§ The Prime Minister
The answer to the first part of the question is"None ".
The Lord Advocate is the principal Scottish Law Officer. His responsibilities include the provision of advice to Ministers on Scots law and, with the other Law Officers, advice on matters of constitutional and international law, including EEC issues. He is also responsible for the Scottish parliamentary draftsmen, for the Scottish Law Commission, for certain matters relating to tribunals and consolidation of the law in Scotland, and for certain branches of the law of Scotland, such as the jurisdiction and procedure of the civil courts, the law of evidence, and the law relating to the prescription and limitation of actions. Prosecutions in Scotland are in the hands of the Lord Advocate and others. The Lord Advocate is also master of the instance and, as such, controls the flow of cases in criminal courts.
The Secretary of State for Scotland is responsible in Scotland for a wide range of statutory functions which are the responsibility of a number of departmental Ministers in England and Wales. In particular, he is responsible for agriculture, fisheries and forestry; economic development; local government, housing, planning, roads and transport; education and social work; health services and home affairs; and has general oversight of all branches of the law in Scotland other than those allocated to the Lord Advocate or other Ministers, including staffing, organisation and accommodation of the Court of Session, High Court of Justiciary and the sheriff courts.