Alongside this paper the government has published an independent expert legal opinion from leading experts on international law. The opinion concludes that, in the event of a vote for independence, Scotland would become a ‘successor state’. It would therefore be required to create a new set of domestic and international arrangements. The remainder of the United Kingdom would be the ‘continuator state’ and would not have to negotiate new treaties or memberships of international organisations because, as the continuing state, the remainder of the UK would be largely unaffected under international law.
Negotiations would need to take place with the UK government on any requests to retain UK-wide arrangements on matters such as a currency union, financial regulation and national security. An independent Scottish state would also need to negotiate with the European Union and other international organisations to agree new terms and conditions of membership.
Future papers from the Scotland analysis programme will be published over the course of 2013 and 2014 to ensure that people in Scotland have access to the facts that will help inform them ahead of the referendum.