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#AceNewsRoom With ‘Kindness & Wisdom’ Oct.12, 2022 @acenewsservices
#AceNewsDesk – A Supreme Court hearing on whether the Scottish Parliament can hold an independence referendum without Westminster’s consent is to hear a second day of legal arguments.
The Scottish government wants to hold a vote in October next year, but UK ministers have refused to agree.
The opposing sides are setting out their arguments to judges at a two-day session in London.
The court has said it could be several months before a ruling is announced.
Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain KC, the Scottish government’s top law officer, began proceedings on Tuesday by outlining why she had referred the issue to the Supreme Court:
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon aims to hold an independence referendum on 19 October 2023.
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She told a panel of five justices that it was “necessary” and “in the public interest” that the question of legislative competence was answered by the court.
She said the referendum would be “advisory” and would have no legal effect on the Union.
The UK government insists the constitution is reserved to Westminster and it is therefore a matter beyond the powers of the Scottish Parliament.
Inside the indyref2 Supreme Court case
Sir James Eadie KC, the UK government’s independent barrister on legal issues of national importance, said the court should not even be considering the issue.
He argued that judges could not rule on the case until a referendum bill had been passed by MSPs.
The second and final day of the hearing will begin at 10:30 on Wednesday.
Mr Eadie will spend the first part of the session outlining the UK government’s arguments, before Ms Bain responds.
The Supreme Court’s senior judge, Lord Reed, warned it could be “some months” before a ruling is reached.
He said the hearing was just the “tip of the iceberg”, with more than 8,000 pages of written material to consider.
But if the ruling does not go in her favor, she says the government will consider the next general election a “de facto referendum”.
Former first minister Alex Salmond, who is now leader of the Alba Party, said the Scottish government was wrong to take the issue to the Supreme Court – and warned the case could result in a referendum with no legal basis.
He told BBC Scotland: “If the Scottish government were to win this case, then they would win it on the basis that the legislation they passed would have no legal effect because that’s the narrow point the lord advocate is arguing.”
The former SNP leader insisted it should be the Scottish people who resolve the issue, not the UK court.
“If you’re going to take a risk in terms of determining the future of the Scottish nation then you should do it in the best possible circumstance in the best possible place,” he said.
He argued that this place was not in the Supreme Court.
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