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A legal challenge to prorogation has failed - setting up an appeal to the Supreme Court

A decision on the legality of prorogation is also expected in a Scottish court.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced his intention to prorogue parliament.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced his intention to prorogue parliament.
Image: Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

Updated Sep 6th 2019, 10:45 AM

THE HIGH COURT in London has ruled that Boris Johnson’s plan to prorogue parliament is not illegal.

The case was brought by Gina Miller,  who won a case in 2017 which saw judges determine that parliament had to have a vote on triggering Article 50 – the mechanism to allow a country to leave the EU. 

The case, one of three taken against the UK prime minister’s decision, will be appealed to the Supreme Court. 

It is expected that the case will be heard on 17 September. 

Miler’s barrister, Lord Pannick QC, argued yesterday that prorogration breached parliamentary sovereignty. 

The announcement that parliament would be prorogued from 9 September until 14 October triggered a storm of political anger, sparking protests, legal challenges and claims that Johnson was undermining British democracy. 

Johnson and his government have denied the accusation that the decision is an attempt to stifle debate on Brexit. 

Today’s decision will come as good news to Boris Johnson, who has suffered a week of defeats and embarrassments after losing his first four votes in the House of Commons and his brother Jo Johnson resigning from government. 

brexit Gina Miller speaks to the media outside the High Court in London following the decision. Source: Aaron Chown/PA Wire/PA Images

“We will not give up our fight for democracy,” Miller said today following the decision. “As our politics becomes ever more chaotic, we feel it is absolutely vital that our parliament should be sitting.”

“To give up now would be a dereliction of our responsibility,” she said. 


A decision is also expected from Scotland next week, where Scottish National Party MP Joanna Cherry brought a case challenging prorogation to the Court of Session. 

Earlier this week, the Outer House of Scotland’s highest civil court rejected the petition, which is backed by 75 UK parliamentarians and campaigner Jolyon Maugham of the Good Law Project. 

Lord Doherty rejected the claim that prorogation was illegal and said that the decision was not a matter for the courts to rule on. 

Yesterday’s hearing in the Inner House saw lawyer Aidan O’Neill QC repeat the charges that prorogration undermined the British parliament and posed a threat to the rule of law. 

The hearing yesterday had an impact beyond the courtroom in Edinburgh. Partially redacted government documents released as part of the case appear to show that Johnson had agreed to prorogation as early as 15 August. 

Proceedings in the Court of Session will began again this morning. 

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