Here’s a legal expert’s take on the Supreme Court’s prorogation ruling

Here’s a legal expert’s take on the Supreme Court’s prorogation ruling

Yesterday the Supreme Court rocked the country after declaring Boris Johnson’s decision to close down parliament for five weeks ahead of Brexit, “unlawful.”

Supreme Court President Lady Hale announced a unanimous ruling, with all 11 judges in agreement, and she declared:

The court is bound to conclude therefore that the decision to advise Her Majesty to prorogue was unlawful because it had the effect of frustrating or preventing the ability of parliament to carry out its constitutional functions.

But what does it all mean?

Constitutional law expert David Allen Green went on LBC Radio to explain the ruling to host James O’Brien.

Green explained: "It is an astonishing piece of legal work. All the more so that it is unanimous, which stands out most starkly.”

Nobody was expecting a unanimous verdict. If you asked me a month ago, we would have said prorogation is just one of those non-justiceable things and an entirely political decision for the prime minister.

But the genius of Dominic Cummings and Nikki Da Costa and the Number 10 operation have converted something that was inherently non-justiceable to an 11-0 victory at the Supreme Court, just by their own tomfoolery.

Talking about the verdict, he added: "What the court had to do first and foremost was to work out whether it was justiceable. That means is it a question capable of a legal answer. That was the real difficulty as it was literally unprecedented.

They worked out that there is a rule that they can adopt. That was that the government cannot ask for a prorogation unless it had a good reason.

That is more or less what the Supreme Court has decided.

He also spoke about Lord David Pannick QC, a lawyer who represented anti-Brexit campaigner Gina Miller, who brought the challenge to the courts

The difficulty in this case from the lawyer’s point of view was lack of precedent. So what Pannick had to do was look at other constitutional cases and try and glean from them a general principle which would apply to this case.

What happens now?

Boris Johnson cut his trip in the General Assembly short and is returning to the UK to face questions in parliament following the verdict.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn called for Johnson to “consider his position” following the historic decision.

The prime minister is facing calls to resign early, with opposition parties demanding an immediate statement by the PM to the reconvened Commons.

More: This photo of Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner in Rome has inspired a lot of jokes

More: Boris Johnson said 'if you obey the law you can come and live your life' and people have made a crucial point

The Conversation (0)