Prescription (Scotland) Bill


About the Bill

A Bill for an Act of the Scottish Parliament to amend the law relating to the extinction of rights and obligations by the passage of time.

The Bill implements the legislative recommendations contained in the Scottish Law Commission’s Report on Prescription (SLC No 247; July 2017). That Report made recommendations to address a number of issues within the law of negative prescription*, which have caused or could cause difficulty in practice, and to increase the clarity, certainty and fairness of provisions. The Bill therefore makes several technical amendments to the Prescription and Limitation (Scotland) Act 1973, in relation to negative prescription only.

*Negative prescription establishes a time-limit within which a person who is aggrieved must raise their claim in court.  If the time-limit is missed, the ability to pursue the claim is lost, because the right or obligation is extinguished once the prescriptive period has expired.

This Scottish Government Bill was introduced by the Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Michael Matheson MSP, on 8 February 2018.

Read the Prescription (Scotland) Bill and accompanying documents.

Read the Scottish Law Commission's Report on Prescription

SPICe Briefings

SPICe briefing on the Prescription (Scotland) Bill published 15 March 2018 (1.03MB pdf)

Stage 1

The Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee was designated lead committee for the Bill by the Parliamentary Bureau on 21 February 2018.

The Committee considered its approach to the delegated powers in the Bill at its meeting on 6 March 2018 and agreed to ask questions of the Scottish Government in writing on certain powers within the Bill:

The Stage 1 debate took place on Wednesday 27 June 2018 after which the Parliament agreed to the general principles of the Bill. 

Stage 2

Stage 2 proceedings took place on Tuesday 25 September 2018. Read the Official Report here.

Stage 3

Stage 3 proceedings took place on Thursday 8 November 2018 when the Bill was passed by motion of the Parliament. Read the Official Report here.



The Committee issued a call for written evidence. The closing date for submissions was Wednesday 4 April 2018.

Read the call for evidence

Read the written submissions received

The Committee began taking oral evidence on the Bill on 20 March 2018:

  • 20 March - Scottish Government and the Scottish Law Commission
  • 27 March - Law Society of Scotland, Faculty of Advocates, Brodies LLP, Pinsent Masons, Burness Paull LLP, Shephered and Wedderburn
  • 17 April - Dr Andrew Simpson, University of Aberdeen, Dr Eleanor Russell, Glasgow Caledonian University, David Wedderburn OBE (on behalf of RIAS)
  • 24 April - Mike Dailly, Govan Law Centre and Mike Holmyard, Citizens Advice Scotland
  • 1 May - Annabelle Ewing MSP, Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs and Scottish Government officials   

Read the Meeting Papers and Official Reports


Letters to various subject committees on issues arising during the Committee's Stage 1 scrutiny of the Bill

Letters to local authorities, the Law Society of Scotland and the Scottish Law Commission on issues arising during the Committee's scrutiny of the Bill


The Committee published its Stage 1 report on the Bill on 14 June 2018:

The Scottish Government responded to the Committee's report on 21 June 2018:


The Stage 1 debate took place on Wednesday 27 June 2018 and the general principles of the Bill were agreed to.

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