Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Proroguing parliament is unlawful abuse of power, court told
MPs seek interdiction in Scotland as challenges also filed in Belfast and London
Boris Johnson's decision to prorogue parliament is an unlawful abuse of power, a Scottish court has heard in the first of three legal challenges.

Aidan O'Neill QC, acting for a cross-party group of 75 MPs and peers, told a court in Edinburgh that the prime minister had trampled on more than 400 years of constitutional law by asking the Queen to prorogue parliament solely for political gain.
The hearing on Thursday morning was arranged at short notice in response to Johnson's decision on Wednesday to suspend parliament early next month. Two other legal challenges were urgently filed in Belfast and London on Thursday.

Doherty said he would rule on the application on Friday morning. If it is upheld, O'Neill believes Johnson will be forced to reverse the decision to prorogue parliament pending an appeal.
The high court in Belfast held a hearing for an emergency injunction brought by Raymond McCord, a victims' rights campaigner who has argued that a no-deal Brexit would be a breach of the Good Friday agreement.
Sign up to our Brexit weekly briefing
Read more

"We are seeking an urgent injunction to compel Johnson to reverse his advice to the Queen to prorogue parliament," McCord's lawyer, Ciaran O'Hare, said after the 20-minute hearing.

Northern Ireland's lord chief justice, Sir Declan Morgan, interrupted his summer holiday to hear the prima facie arguments. He instructed O'Hare and the government's defence barrister to return on Friday at 10am for a full hearing with expanded legal arguments.

In London, Gina Miller, the campaigner who mounted a successful legal challenge in 2016 to Theresa May's attempts to use crown prerogative powers to invoke article 50, lodged papers seeking a judicial review, which is expected to be heard next week.

Three different suits in three different courts with three different legal theories. A favorable ruling on any one would produce problems for Boris.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Aug 29th, 2019 at 08:31:18 PM EST
Yes, but given the woolyness of the UK's unwritten Constitution, it seems any is unlikely to proceed. It is not exactly unusual for a PM to act "solely for political gain" and in the absence of any statute law the courts will be reluctant to intervene in a "political" decision.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Aug 29th, 2019 at 08:36:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The problem isn't political gain, it's political gain by shutting down the heart of government for an unheard of period in the face of all reasonable precedent.

This is not about ends, but means. And the means are wholly unacceptable to British democracy. The ends are a side issue.

It should be straightforward. But Doherty's record isn't encouraging. He tends to lean corporate and Establishment, so I'll be surprised if anything comes of this.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Aug 30th, 2019 at 01:18:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think that is my point. The absence of a clear constitution or even statute law creates a vacuum which can be filled by precedent, convention, or just "Gentlemen's agreements" but which could also be filled by activist judges through case law. However Judges, and particularly senior judges, are selected on the basis that they are paragons of the establishment whose job it is to make sure no boat is rocked... They ARE the establishment.

Hence also the hostility towards the European Charter of Fundamental Rights - an excellent document which could put limits on the establishment's pursuit of its own self interest. Progress on human rights in the UK has generally only happened when public unrest and civil strife have put the establishment at risk, and some concessions had to be made to the rubes to keep the pitch forks at bay.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Aug 30th, 2019 at 10:40:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Petition: Do not prorogue Parliament
"Parliament must not be prorogued or dissolved unless and until the Article 50 period has been sufficiently extended or the UK's intention to withdraw from the EU has been cancelled."
UK reacts angrily to Johnson's decision to suspend Parliament
It is not the first of its kind. A petition earlier this year asking the British government to reverse its course on Brexit received more than 4.5 million signatures in just three days. The request appeared to fall on deaf ears, with Wednesday's development only giving further weight to that notion.

archived People's Votes
no binding

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Thu Aug 29th, 2019 at 08:43:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Thu Aug 29th, 2019 at 11:52:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]


Occasional Series