Commentary on Article XXV

XXV. Repeal of inconsistent Acts

THAT all Laws and Statutes in either Kingdom, to far as they are contrary to, or inconsistent with the Terms of these Articles, or any of them, shall, from and after the Union cease and become void and shall be so declared to be, by the respective Parliaments of the said Kingdoms.

The Acts of Union prevail over anything preceding them which may be inconsistent with their provisions. Many centuries of incrusted statutes were to be removed. This is perhaps an unnecessary provision as any statute supersedes preceding statutes: nevertheless Article XXV was included as a belt-and-braces provision in case of doubt. In the previous few years the two parliaments had thrown malicious statutes at each other - the Act of Security in Scotland and the Aliens Act in England most noticeably - and the wounds were yet raw. These statutes were wholly contradicted by the terms of the union (the Hanoverian succession in the one case and free trade in the other) but Article XXV made sure they were dead.

This most minor provision has attracted perhaps the most puzzled commentary. It has been asserted that the Article could even overturn subsequent Acts, but there is nothing in the wording to suggest that intent; quite to the contrary it refers to statutes of either kingdom, not of Great Britain, and that they cease at the union, which obviously cannot apply to anything still in the future: it is normal eighteenth century legal phrasing.