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12 September 2019

Scottish court rules Boris Johnson’s advice to Queen was ‘unlawful’

Scotland’s highest court ruled that Boris Johnson’s prorogation of parliament this month was unlawful. The ruling is the latest disaster and is potentially dangerous as it could open the Prime Minister to the charge that he misled the Queen.

Under Britain’s constitutional conventions, the suspension of parliament is a Royal Prerogative power that is exercised by the monarch alone based on the advice of the Prime Minister. When the Queen suspends parliament, she can seek no other advice, whether legal or otherwise, from any other individual.

The Scottish ruling will be tested in the UK Supreme Court. The legal battleground will likely surround the question of justiciability and whether or not the courts can review the Prime Minister’s advice to the Queen.

David Mundy, partner in our public law team, comments:

‘If the Supreme Court upholds the Scottish ruling then we are in extraordinary territory. It’s the first time that an act of the monarch has been scrutinised in this way.’

The full article is available to subscribers of the Financial Times, here.

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