In a series of briefings, the Royal Society of Edinburgh reviews the impact that Brexit will have on the distribution of powers and responsibilities for the different governments and legislatures in the UK.

As EU frameworks for areas of public policy cease to apply, new UK frameworks will need to be evolved to replace them. The paper highlights the crucial role that effective UK intergovernmental relations have to play post-Brexit, ensuring that procedures and structures are fostered to facilitate new arrangements and legislature.


  • A more effective system of intergovernmental relations within the UK must be found to facilitate meaningful engagement between governments, to discuss and operate these new arrangements, and to foster closer working on the powers repatriated.
  • While the UK Supreme Court has ruled that the Sewel Convention is not subject to legal requirement, its status as a constitutional principle should not be undervalued. Consent should be sought for legislation that would impact upon devolved matters.
  • International relations are a politically reserved matter, but there may be scope for the devolved bodies to have a greater role in EU relations on devolved matters in the future.
  • The scale and urgency of the challenge facing the UK should not be overstated, according to the report. The civil service must either look to recruit a substantial number of capable staff in a short period of time, or look to build up a significant group of outside experts to consult or, preferably, do a mixture of both.

To read more from RSE, visit their website.