Scotland: Supreme Court and Brexit – the long and short of it
The Supreme Court has given its judgment in the UK constitutional case of R (on the application of Miller and another) (Respondents) v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union (Appellant).
At issue was whether or not the Government has power to give notice (Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union) of the UK’s intention to withdraw from the European Union, without prior authorisation under an Act of Parliament. As was widely expected, Supreme Court dismissed the Appeal (by a majority of 8 to 3).
In short, the Court held that an Act of Parliament is required to authorise ministers to give notice under Article 50. Following the judgment the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union David Davis announced the UK Government’s intention to introduce a Bill before Parliament to secure that authorisation. The Bill is expected to be a very short one.
In addition, the Supreme Court held that the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Assembly and the Northern Ireland Assembly do not have a legal veto on the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.
In the longer term, the Supreme Court judgment together with the three dissenting opinions seem set to contribute notably to the operation of the UK’s unwritten constitution.
Meanwhile the case continues to generate great interest and debate in connection with the UK Government’s proposals for the UK to leave the EU.
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