A Council Area
is one of the areas defined in Schedule 1 of the Local Government etc. (Scotland) Act 1994
The Local Government etc. Act 1994 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom which created the current local government structure of 32 unitary authorities covering the whole of Scotland....
and is under the control of one of the local authorities in Scotland created by that Act.
In Scotland, local government counties were created under the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1889. The 1889 legislation created county councils, turned each civil county (with one exception) into a contiguous area (without separate fragments) and adjusted boundaries where civil parishes straddled county boundaries, or had fragments in more than one county. The counties of Ross and Cromarty were merged to form Ross and Cromarty.
Under the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973, local government counties, cities and their subordinate councils (including burgh
A burgh was an autonomous corporate entity in Scotland and Northern England, usually a town. This type of administrative division existed from the 12th century, when King David I created the first royal burghs. Burgh status was broadly analogous to borough status, found in the rest of the United...
s and parish
A parish is a territorial unit historically under the pastoral care and clerical jurisdiction of one parish priest, who might be assisted in his pastoral duties by a curate or curates - also priests but not the parish priest - from a more or less central parish church with its associated organization...
es) were abolished and replaced by an upper tier of Regions
each of which contained a number of Districts
except for the Western Isles
Comhairle nan Eilean Siar is the local government council for Na h-Eileanan Siar council area of Scotland.It is the only local council in Scotland to have a Gaelic-only name...
, Shetland Islands
The Shetland Islands Council is the local authority for Shetland. It was established by the Local Government Act 1973 and is the successor to the former Lerwick Town Council and Zetland County Council...
and Orkney Islands
Orkney also known as the Orkney Islands , is an archipelago in northern Scotland, situated north of the coast of Caithness...
where each had a single-tier authority created which exercised all the powers elsewhere split across two levels of local government. Two of the three islands authorities - Orkney and Shetland - changed their legal nature but continued with boundaries identical to the earlier counties; the Western Isles area was previously split between Invernessshire and Ross and Cromarty
Ross and Cromarty is a variously defined area in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. There is a registration county and a lieutenancy area in current use...
The regions and districts were themselves abolished in 1996, under the Local Government etc. (Scotland) Act 1994, in favour of a single tier of Councils
. Although Scottish Councils are now unitary in nature none is a Unitary Authority
as in the United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...
that phrase is specific to English local government legislation.
One region and various of the districts created in 1975 had areas similar to those of earlier counties. Various council areas created in 1996 continued to do so with some new areas also resembling pre-1975 areas or simple divisions of them (e.g. South Lanarkshire
South Lanarkshire is one of 32 unitary council areas of Scotland, covering the southern part of the former county of Lanarkshire. It borders the south-east of the city of Glasgow and contains many of Glasgow's suburbs, commuter towns and smaller villages....
and North Lanarkshire
North Lanarkshire is one of 32 council areas in Scotland. It borders onto the northeast of the City of Glasgow and contains much of Glasgow's suburbs and commuter towns and villages. It also borders Stirling, Falkirk, East Dunbartonshire, West Lothian and South Lanarkshire...
). Apart from their legal nature, the three islands authorities continued with their previous boundaries and most of their powers unaltered.
Similar areas which are not local authority areas
Other areas which often (but not always) resemble Council Areas also exist for purposes of national government functions :-
are the areas of Scotland continuing in use for land registration
Land registration generally describes systems by which matters concerning ownership, possession or other rights in land can be recorded to provide evidence of title, facilitate transactions and to prevent unlawful disposal...
each of which has a Lord-Lieutenant as the local representative of the monarch. Their office is for most current purposes a ceremonial function involving representation of or accompanying the monarch during official visits.
- Subdivisions of Scotland
For local government purposes, Scotland is divided into 32 areas designated as "council areas" which are all governed by unitary authorities designated as "councils"...
- Counties of Scotland
The counties of Scotland were the principal local government divisions of Scotland until 1975. Scotland's current lieutenancy areas and registration counties are largely based on them. They are often referred to as historic counties....