Scottish Adjacent Waters Boundaries Order 1999

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Statutory Instrument
Territorial extentScotland
Made13 April 1999
Commencement1 July 1999
Other legislation
Made underScotland Act 1998
Status: Current legislation
Text of the Scottish Adjacent Waters Boundaries Order 1999 as in force today (including any amendments) within the United Kingdom, from
A map showing the location of Scotland's Marine Protected Areas highlights the extent of Scottish waters as defined by the Order.

The Scottish Adjacent Waters Boundaries Order 1999 is a statutory instrument of the United Kingdom government, defining "the boundaries between waters which are to be treated as internal waters or territorial sea of the United Kingdom adjacent to Scotland and those which are not." It was introduced in accordance with the Scotland Act 1998, which established the devolved Scottish Parliament.

Defining jurisdictions[edit]

The territorial waters thus defined as Scottish waters come under the jurisdiction of Scots law, and are also used for defining the area of operation of Marine Scotland, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, and other Scottish Government agencies and public bodies. This is, for example, of importance to the Scottish fishing industry, the North Sea oil industry, and in the competing claims for the resources of the Rockall Trough.

The territorial waters thus defined as not being Scottish waters come under the jurisdiction of either English law or Northern Ireland law. Therefore, because it defines the territorial limits of the three separate jurisdictions, it comprises a piece of constitutional law in the constitution of the United Kingdom.

Previously, the jurisdictional areas for the application of civil law were defined by The Civil Jurisdiction (Offshore Activities) Order 1987.[1]


The law effectively curved the maritime jurisdictional boundary between Scotland and England north. Previously, the boundary was a straight line heading east across the North Sea from Berwick. The movement of the line meant that some oil fields previously in Scottish waters were now under English jurisdiction.[2] Professor Alex Kemp of the University of Aberdeen argued that the movement of the line did not make much difference from an economic perspective, "because [these] are just a handful of fields, and [no longer] very important ones".[2]

Status of the Scottish Adjacent Waters Boundaries Order 1999 in the event of Scottish independence[edit]

The European Journal of International Law published a detailed article in 2001[3] entitled "Prospective Anglo-Scottish maritime boundary revisited". This concludes that, in the event of Scottish independence, the maritime border between Scotland and England as set out in the Scottish Adjacent Waters Boundaries Order 1999 would not comply with international law. As a result, it is likely that a significant proportion of the waters annexed from Scotland by the Order would be returned to Scottish jurisdiction.

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b Brocklehurst, Steven (16 April 2013). "Who has a right to claim North Sea oil?". BBC News Online. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  3. ^

External links[edit]