The Edinburgh Agreement (full title: agreement between the UK Government and the Scottish Government on a referendum on Scottish independence) is the agreement between the Scottish Government and the UK Government, signed on 15 October 2012 at St Andrew`s House in Edinburgh on the terms of the 2014 Scottish independence referendum.  The Scottish and British political landscape has changed considerably since the first election of New Labour and Tony Blair in 1997, with the promise of introducing decentralisation for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Scotland has gone from a “region” (a very controversial status, of course) of the United Kingdom, without formal political status, with the exception of a Secretary of State in the British Cabinet, to a country with a devolved parliament, which is on the verge of a historic vote on full independence. A country that is trying to become a nation-state in its own right. The changes in the political landscape since 2007 must be fascinating for those who designed Scotland`s decentralised housing. What did not happen happened and, in just five years, the few conservative voices that decentralization was only the first step in a slippery path to independence have gained weight. While at the time of the letter (early 2013) no one is quite sure how the independence vote will take place, the rise of the Snp to power clearly shows the extent to which the Scottish people are not satisfied with the status quo (i.e. politicians with whom they do not identify). Therefore, if voters vote to remain in the Union, the problem of political representation will not go away. It is interesting to note that the question of the legal status of documents signed between the British Government and certain parts of the jurisdiction is not entirely new. Similar questions have arisen around the decolonization project (with which there is no analogy of politics – like the legal conundrum).
In 1921, the document confirming the step towards Irish independence (although its direction was ambiguous at the time) was described as an “Anglo Irish Treaty”. But even in the days leading up to the Vienna Convention, its treaty status was unclear. The parties did not sign as members of the government, but “on behalf” of the British and Irish delegations. The question of legal status is addressed by the final clause which provides that the discussion calls into question our legal sense of the availability of the law. The Edinburgh Agreement could not be signed legally binding, as there is no simple and appropriate legal form for this type of agreement in our legal system. In Scotland, where violence and instability are not a problem, it is not that important. But this was very important in other contexts where negotiations between governments and sub-state governments (governments or potential governments) take place in a context of violence, and where central governments, in the middle of the process, want to switch between the parties for and against peace, and perhaps abandon the commitments of their predecessors without losing their reputation. What is the legal status of the agreement as a “concorda”? Well, he`s notoriously insequent. The guidelines published in 1998 and 2005 suggest that the agreements are not intended to create legal obligations or restrictions, but to serve as the basis for administrative cooperation and information exchange. The terms of the agreement are often referred to as “non-binding” as “honorary” declarations of intent that are not intended to establish contractual agreements (see Condordats and Devolance Guidance Notes, House of Commons Library, SN/PC/3767, October 7, 2005). Nevertheless, commentators refer to these agreements in the “Twilight Law Terms” as an area of “para-constitutional law,” agreements between governments that serve almost as a form of “quasi-contractual laws” or “soft laws” for public servants, because they raise expectations and behaviours.