fuckwits (Leave.EU that is)
Originally Posted by Neilwood
a large part of me regards today's decision as wholly unsurprising
the headlines could better be
"Supreme Court unanimously confirms that the separation of powers really does exist, so what we have known for 450 odd years remains unchanged"
"lying litigating party who chooses to give no evidence thinking that will let it get away with it surprised when it loses anyway"
I would urge everyone, instead of reading anyone else's slant on it, to watch the whole of Brenda giving the summary of the decision - simple, clear, limited in scope, but unequivocal and unarguably correct
or watch it here
or read the full text of the summary here
and then read the official full judgment here
the full version includes more detail on issues such as -
" if the issue before the court is justiciable, deciding it will not offend
against the separation of powers. As we have just indicated, the court will be
performing its proper function under our constitution. Indeed, by ensuring that the
Government does not use the power of prorogation unlawfully with the effect of
preventing Parliament from carrying out its proper functions, the court will be giving
effect to the separation of powers"
"Although the United Kingdom does not have a single document entitled “The
Constitution”, it nevertheless possesses a Constitution, established over the course
of our history by common law, statutes, conventions and practice. Since it has not
been codified, it has developed pragmatically, and remains sufficiently flexible to
be capable of further development. Nevertheless, it includes numerous principles of
law, which are enforceable by the courts in the same way as other legal principles.
In giving them effect, the courts have the responsibility of upholding the values and
principles of our constitution and making them effective. It is their particular
responsibility to determine the legal limits of the powers conferred on each branch
of government, and to decide whether any exercise of power has transgressed those
limits. The courts cannot shirk that responsibility merely on the ground that the
question raised is political in tone or context"
"50. For the purposes of the present case, therefore, the relevant limit upon the
power to prorogue can be expressed in this way: that a decision to prorogue
Parliament (or to advise the monarch to prorogue Parliament) will be unlawful if the
prorogation has the effect of frustrating or preventing, without reasonable
justification, the ability of Parliament to carry out its constitutional functions as a
legislature and as the body responsible for the supervision of the executive. In such
a situation, the court will intervene if the effect is sufficiently serious to justify such
an exceptional course.
51. That standard is one that can be applied in practice. The extent to which
prorogation frustrates or prevents Parliament’s ability to perform its legislative
functions and its supervision of the executive is a question of fact which presents no
greater difficulty than many other questions of fact which are routinely decided by
the courts. The court then has to decide whether the Prime Minister’s explanation
for advising that Parliament should be prorogued is a reasonable justification for a
prorogation having those effects. The Prime Minister’s wish to end one session of
Parliament and to begin another will normally be enough in itself to justify the short
period of prorogation which has been normal in modern practice. It could only be in
unusual circumstances that any further justification might be necessary. Even in
such a case, when considering the justification put forward, the court would have to
bear in mind that the decision whether to advise the monarch to prorogue Parliament
falls within the area of responsibility of the Prime Minister, and that it may in some
circumstances involve a range of considerations, including matters of political
judgment. The court would therefore have to consider any justification that might
be advanced with sensitivity to the responsibilities and experience of the Prime
Minister, and with a corresponding degree of caution. Nevertheless, it is the court’s
responsibility to determine whether the Prime Minster has remained within the legal
limits of the power. If not, the final question will be whether the consequences are
sufficiently serious to call for the court’s intervention"
55. Let us remind ourselves of the foundations of our constitution. We live in a
representative democracy. The House of Commons exists because the people have
elected its members. The Government is not directly elected by the people (unlike
the position in some other democracies). The Government exists because it has the
confidence of the House of Commons. It has no democratic legitimacy other than
that. This means that it is accountable to the House of Commons - and indeed to the
House of Lords - for its actions, remembering always that the actual task of
governing is for the executive and not for Parliament or the courts. The first
question, therefore, is whether the Prime Minister’s action had the effect of
frustrating or preventing the constitutional role of Parliament in holding the
Government to account.
56. The answer is that of course it did.
59. The unchallenged evidence of Sir John Major is clear. The work on the
Queen’s Speech varies according to the size of the programme. But a typical time is
four to six days. Departments bid for the Bills they would like to have in the next
session. Government business managers meet to select the Bills to be included,
usually after discussion with the Prime Minister, and Cabinet is asked to endorse the
decisions. Drafting the speech itself does not take much time once the substance is
clear. Sir John’s evidence is that he has never known a Government to need as much
as five weeks to put together its legislative agenda
70. It follows that Parliament has not been prorogued and that this court should
make declarations to that effect. We have been told by counsel for the Prime
Minister that he will “take all necessary steps to comply with the terms of any
declaration made by the court” and we expect him to do so. However, it appears to
us that, as Parliament is not prorogued, it is for Parliament to decide what to do next.
There is no need for Parliament to be recalled under the Meeting of Parliament Act
1797. Nor has Parliament voted to adjourn or go into recess. Unless there is some
Parliamentary rule to the contrary of which we are unaware, the Speaker of the
House of Commons and the Lord Speaker can take immediate steps to enable each
House to meet as soon as possible to decide upon a way forward. That would, of
course, be a proceeding in Parliament which could not be called in question in this
or any other court.
its not very long (25 well spaced pages) - worth a read to understand it properly