Section 30 order transfers the power to hold the independence referendum from Westminster to Holyrood – making the vote legal and protecting it from legal challenges.
The Section 30 is in place until the end of 2014, when the agreement will expire and Holyrood will no longer have the power to hold the referendum – ensuring that the vote cannot be delayed after that year.
A straight “yes or no” question on independence, with no second question on additional powers appearing on the ballot paper.
The electoral register used will be that from the Scottish Parliament elections and local council elections. Although not part of the Section 30, the move represents a retreat from early suggestions made by unionists that the electoral roll used for Westminster elections should determine the referendum electorate.
The Electoral Commission will have the same role as in other elections and referendums. It will be able to test the fairness of the referendum question and set rules on campaign finance.
The electoral franchise for the referendum will be extended to young people age 16 and 17, if Holyrood decides to do so.