Last edited 31 May 2024

Reserved matters

Reserved matters, are decisions that are taken by the UK Parliament at Westminster even though they have an effect in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland or the regions of England, though such matters may also give options the devolved governments to implement slightly different regimes.

The term reserved matters is also used in planning law to describe detail matters which may be agreed at a later stage once outline planning has been granted. However changes to the outline planning permission process came that intended to make outline planning applications more detailed thus reduced the applicability of reserved matters thus in effect restricting their use. For more information see Reserved matters in planning permissions.

In relaton to reserved matters, in terms of governance, they are as opposed to devolved matters which are more directly matters or areas of UK governance where decision-making has been delegated by Parliament to the devolved institutions such as the Scottish Parliament, the Assemblies of Wales, Northern Ireland and London or to Local Authorities.

In some cases there maybe be a certain amount of crossover between devolved matters and reserved matters, for example with regards to building safety after the Grenfell tragedy. Whilst the Building Safety Act 2022 includes reserved matters which are applicable to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, it also includes permits for the devolved governments to implement slightly different regimes from England. At the same time the secondary legislation covering building regulations and implementation of safety issues are considered devolved matters.

From UK Parliament

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