Nicola Sturgeon says a second referendum on Scottish independence “must happen next year”.
The First Minister told the SNP conference that she will ask the UK government to give formal consent by the end of this year.
Ms Sturgeon told the conference in Aberdeen: “My call is that the referendum must happen next year.
“And we are getting ready. By the new year, we will have completed our legislative preparations. We are already working to update the independence prospectus.
“And I can confirm today that before the end of this year, I will demand the transfer of power that puts the legality of a referendum beyond any doubt.”
She said Westminster had “no right” to block the request, and its opposition to a second referendum is “not sustainable”.
But she stressed any referendum had to be legal if the result was to be recognised internationally.
The UK government has repeatedly said it will not grant a Section 30 order, which was used to ensure the legality of the independence referendum in 2014 in which Scottish voters opted to remain in the UK by 55% to 45%.
But Ms Sturgeon told the conference that the question should not be what the SNP will do if Westminster refuses to agree to a Section 30.
She said: “The question should be demanded of the Westminster parties – what gives you any right to deny people in Scotland our ability to choose our own future?
“The Westminster refusal is not sustainable. We can already see the cracks appearing.
“Just like us, they know there is going to be a referendum. And they know that when there is, Scotland will choose independence.”
However, Ms Sturgeon again stressed that the process “must be legal” and must “allow majority support to be expressed clearly and unambiguously”.
She added: “It must have the recognition of the international community. Why? Because our job is not just to deliver a referendum. Our job is to deliver independence.”