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The Lord Advocate sends the independence referendum bill to the Supreme Court


Scotland’s Solicitor General passes Scottish Government legislation on another independence referendum law Supreme Court.

after the announcement of First Minister Nicola Sturgeon On plans to hold another vote on October 19, 2023, Ms Sturgeon said Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain QC had agreed to ask the High Court for an opinion on whether Scottish Parliament had the necessary powers to hold such an indicative vote.

In her announcement, the First Minister announced the publication of the Scottish Independence Referendum Bill.

An 18-page report was submitted to the court on Tuesday.

Nicola Sturgeon describes her last week at Holyrood (Leslie Martin/PA) / PA wire

“The Scottish Government, the Scottish Parliament and the people of Scotland and the wider United Kingdom must have clarity about the scope of appropriate reservations on this fundamental constitutional importance,” the Lord Advocate wrote in his submission.

“As a matter of law, only this court can provide that clarity and until the matter is settled judicially, there will remain uncertainty and the possibility of dispute over the powers of the Scottish Parliament. It is not in the best interests of the people of Scotland or the United Kingdom.

“In the circumstances, the Lord Advocate has decided that it is appropriate for him to seek an injunction from the High Court. Accordingly, the Lord Advocate makes this reference in the exercise of his retained functions under paragraph 34 of Schedule 6 to the Scotland Act.

“This is the first time that this power has been exercised by the Lord Advocate. It is a measure of the fundamental importance and exclusivity of the issue.”

Ms Bain told the court she needed to have “confidence” in the Scottish Parliament’s authority to legislate on a particular subject before introducing the bill and would have to clear a statement to that effect.

“In this case the Lord Advocate does not have the necessary degree of confidence,” he wrote to the court.

In the petition, the Lord Advocate asked the court: “Is the provision in the proposed Scottish Independence Referendum Bill which provides that the question to be asked in the referendum will be ‘Shall Scotland be an independent country?’ relate to reserved matters?’

By law, a referendum held under the Bill will have zero legal effect

Ms Bain also stressed that any referendum held next year would not be legally binding, but would simply show the will of the Scots on the issue.

“The bill does not provide what should be in response to the result,” he wrote.

“The bill stipulates only that the referendum should be held.

“Therefore, as a matter of law, the legal effect of the referendum held according to the bill will be zero.”

If the Supreme Court rules that even an indicative vote is not within the powers of the Scottish Parliament, the First Minister said the next general election would act as a “de facto referendum”. SNP: running on the sole issue of independence.

A Supreme Court update last week said the reference would go before the president of the Supreme Court, Lord Reed Allermuir, who would decide when the case would be heard, if the preliminary issues were to be heard, and how many judges would hear the reference. and which justices will sit on the bench?

Scottish Tory constitution spokesman Donald Cameron said the reference showed why the Lord Advocate did not appear before MSPs before the summer recess.

The decision to allow the Lord Advocate to make a statement will be made by the Parliamentary Bureau, a cross-party group that advises on the finalization of parliamentary business by MSPs.

“Scotland’s top lawyer is not convinced that the First Minister’s plan to hold a divisive and unwanted referendum has any legal basis,” Mr Cameron added.

“Yet we can clearly see what the SNP are doing, playing political games by going to court to stir up grievances.

“But strip away the legal wrangling and political posturing, this just boils down to an SNP government focused on a self-serving, obsessive push for independence when they should be focusing on the priorities of Scots.

“Ministers must turn their full attention to the global cost of living crisis, the waiting time crisis in Scotland’s NHS, the shocking education gap and the drug-related death epidemic. Unfortunately, their priorities are all wrong.”

While Scottish Lib Dem constitution spokesman Willie Rennie echoed Mr Cameron’s comments, adding: “Regardless, this will be seen as a familiar sight by the Scottish public, who are more concerned with paying their bills and putting food on the table.”

As did Scottish Labor constitution spokeswoman Sarah Boyack, who said: “It is clear from the document that the Lord Advocate has no confidence that what the SNP is proposing is legitimate.

“With the country in the midst of a cost of living crisis, it is deeply disappointing to see Nicola Sturgeon reverting to the politics of the past.

“The people of Scotland need action from the Scottish Government now, not more constitutional inertia.”

The Lord Advocate sends the independence referendum bill to the Supreme Court

SourceThe Lord Advocate sends the independence referendum bill to the Supreme Court

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