News | Published September 17 2019

Supreme Court to determine legality of prorogation

Supreme Court judges will decide today whether prime minister Boris Johnson has acted illegally in proroguing parliament.

The decision has been made to increase the number of judges, from the conventional nine to 11, which is believed to indicate the complexity of the case.

The hearing marks the first occurrence of an emergency hearing outside legal term-time and is the second time all bar one of the supreme court judges have been on the bench at any one time, the first being the article 50 case in 2016.

A key challenge which will face the court is how to consolidate the discrepancies between Scottish, English and Northern Irish law.

The case was dismissed by the London High Court; however, the Scottish court of appeal has unanimously allowed the challenge.

The court will be presided by Lady Hale, the first female president of the court. 

Upon her retirement in January, the position will be filled by Lord Reed.

Lord Briggs, an expert in commercial law, is the only judge not to preside on the case as the bench must have an odd number to prevent an equally split vote.

There have been three days allocated for legal arguments, and it is likely that the judgement will be reserved.

The government is to be represented by a number of QCs including Sir James Eadie, known as the “Treasury devil”. Lord Keen of Elie will lead the Scottish case.

Johnson has said that he has the “greatest respect for the judiciary”.

He further stated that he felt “the best thing I could do is wait and see what the judges say.”

The case has been brought forward by legal campaigner Gina Miller, who also brought forward the article 50 challenge in 2015.

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Authored by

Alice Jaspars
Culture Editor
September 17 2019

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