historic decision expected at Supreme Court

Eleven judges began on Tuesday to examine a case as unprecedented as thorny: Boris Johnson has violated the law by deciding to suspend Parliament? Decision expected, at the earliest, Thursday.

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An anti-Brexit protester in the Supreme Court in London on Tuesday, 17 September.
An anti-Brexit protester in the Supreme Court in London on Tuesday, 17 September. Alastair Grant / AP

Unusual turmoil on Tuesday, 17 September, at the entrance of the British Supreme Court, the highest jurisdiction in the United Kingdom: a few dozen protesters gathered, waving banners "Do not silent our MPs" ("Do not gag our MPs"), or "Save Democracy".

Inside the Gothic Revival building, facing Westminster Abbey, eleven semi-circle judges began to examine a case as unprecedented as it was spiny. Did Prime Minister Boris Johnson violate British law by decreeing, on August 28, to suspend (by prorogation) the Parliament (House of Commons and Lords) for five weeks?

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Deputies and Lords, just back from their summer break, on September 3, had to leave on forced holidays, until October 14. According to the Prime Minister, he needed time to prepare a "Queen's Speech" (new government program). And while the country is threatened with a Brexit without agreement at 31 October.

"Illegal" suspension for the High Court of Scotland

Two appeals have been made at two different high courts in recent weeks: the High Court of England and Wales, and the High Court of Scotland at Edinburgh. If the former rejected the plaintiffs' claims (the High Court of England and Wales held that the suspension decision was "Policy" and that it is not up to him to decide), the jurisdiction of Edinburgh has, however, created an electroshock, taking their total counterpoint, Wednesday, September 11.

The Scottish judges considered that the five-week suspension of the British Parliament was "Illegal"because she was aiming "To hinder it". This decision of the Boris Johnson government is "Null and void", concluded the Scottish judges. Who's right, Scottish or English judges? Who's wrong ? What consequences for Boris Johnson, if the Supreme Court was to confirm the illegality of the suspension?

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The position that the Supreme Court will take may well change the course of Brexit, if it follows the Scottish judges: the prime minister would at least be obliged to allow Parliament to sit again. Lady Hale, its president, nevertheless made it clear in her opening remarks on Tuesday that the judges' decision "Will not determine" Brexit. Judges must decide no earlier than Thursday, September 19th.


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