Why Scottish Courts Deemed the Proroguing of Parliament as 'Unlawful'

In lieu of the Supreme Court's decision to deem the suspension of parliament as 'unlawful', Radar explains why Scottish courts initiated the question of legality.

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Prime Minister, Boris Johnson called for parliament to be prorogued to allow for a Queens speech. The prorogation of parliament is commonly used to disband parliament over the summer and winter breaks or before party’s dissolve for general elections.   

Dr James Morrison, from Robert Gordon University, explains that this specific issue was to do with the legality or not of the prorogation of parliament.  

He said, “The U.K government tried to use prorogation in the views of its critics to block democratic debate in parliament over these crucial few weeks before we are due to leave the EU and whether we should be left in the position where we are left without a deal, which most of parliament is opposed too.”  

The effects of proroguing parliament were caused by the Westminster parliament, the devolution settlement means that this then affects all of the UK.  

Dr Morrison said, “The court of session is a Scottish court; they don’t have any authority over the rest of the U.K, but Scotland is a part of the U.K and is therefore in the position of being pulled out of the Union against its will.”  

“Scotland will be affected by Brexit process, so Scotland has every right to have a say.” 

The Scottish Court of Session disagreed where the English and Irish courts did.  

Dr Morrison said, “The Scottish Court of session ruled that it was unlawful because it was clearly done to stifle debate rather than what the government officially claimed it was which was to pave the way for a Queen’s speech.” 

“It was misleading so that makes it unlawful.” 

The rulings from the courts meant both verdicts were to be appealed to the Supreme Court, which agreed with the Scottish Court of Sessions to conclude the prorogation of parliament to be unlawful.  

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