The First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon has said she will be able to make a judgment on a second independence referendum by the end of this year.
She told the BBC: "I still believe that whatever future Scotland chooses for itself, and you know what side of that I'm on, that is a future that shouldn't be imposed on us - it's one we should have the ability and choose for ourselves".
She said any decision on another referendum would be made when the shape of a deal between Britain and the European Union became clear.
"At that point, what I've said is that we will look at that and determine at that stage if Scotland should then have the right to choose between whatever that new relationship with the UK is going to be - or choosing to be an independent country."
"I still hope that there is an alternative"
Asked if the timetable would be before the end of 2018, Ms Sturgeon said: "That's when I will be able to look at that and make a judgement about what I think the next appropriate steps are for Scotland, and I will then report that to the Scottish Parliament and to the people of Scotland."
Asked if she accepts Scotland is going to leave the EU, Mrs Sturgeon replied: "I still hope that there is an alternative to that - I think it's best for Scotland, I believes that it's best for the UK to remain within the EU.
"But I have a job to do, which is to pragmatically look at how I best protect Scotland's interests in all circumstances.
"Assuming that the UK's going to leave the EU, we then have to look at what the potential outcomes are and work out what the best, or the least damaging outcome, will be".
In its independence referendum in 2014 people voted against becoming an independent country by 55% to 45%.
While in the Brexit vote, Scotland voted to remain in the EU by a majority of 62%.