The Faroe Islands: Possible Lessons for Scotland in a New Post-Brexit Devolution Settlement

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The Brexit referendum saw millions of people voting to “take back control” from Brussels. The decision to leave the EU and to return powers to the UK has created new constitutional complexity, especially for Scotland, which overwhelmingly voted to remain. The Scottish Government has made it clear that, despite the overall result, it wants to retain key benefits of EU membership, even if the rest of the UK leaves the EU and the Single Market. The difficulty now is finding a constitutional compromise that addresses the concerns of the Scottish Government as the UK leaves the EU in March 2019. The Faroe Islands' reserved powers model can potentially yield important lessons for Scotland. Despite refusing to accede with Denmark in 1973, the Faroes has developed a close relationship with the EU. The case of the Faroes shows that there are no legal barriers in EU or international law against Scotland following a similar path. A constitutional compromise can be achieved through the use of international legal personality and the political will to find a settlement.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)110-122
Number of pages13
JournalEuropean Law Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019


  • Scotland
  • Devolution
  • Brexit
  • International personallity
  • Faroe Islands
  • Denmark
  • EU
  • International Law
  • Sub-state enteties


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