Category Archives: Supreme Court

In the news: Minimum Unit Pricing for Alcohol

Booze
this Creative Commons Licence©  Dave Morris and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Today the UK Supreme Court has ruled that Scottish Government can set a minimum price for alcohol, rejecting a challenge by the Scotch Whisky Association and others that it did not comply with European Union law.  The judgment is available here.

In an attempt to reduce both the harm to health and the social consequences arising from the consumption of cheap high strength alcohol, the Scottish Parliament passed  The Alcohol (Minimum Pricing) (Scotland) Act 2012 . This has been the subject proceeding in the Scottish, European Union and United Kingdom courts since 2012.

Further background to the case is available from the UK Supreme Court here and from the Scottish Government here.

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UPDATE Can the UK government launch the process to leave the EU without an Act of Parliament?

 

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© Jay Gavin Licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

The government’s appeal was dismissed in the Supreme Court yesterday.  This means that Parliament has to give its approval before the formal process of leaving the EU can begin. The judgement and summary documents are available here.

The original case was about prerogative powers, defined by the High Court in the original case as “the residue of legal authority left in the hands of the Crown” however as the UK has a sovereign parliament it is argued that prerogative powers cannot be used to overrule legislation. The government argued, however, that it did have the prerogative power to “make and unmake treaties” allowing it to launch the process without requiring an Act of Parliament.

The Scottish Government was also involved in this case. The Lord Advocate’s intervention proposed that triggering article 50 required an Act of the UK Parliament and as a result also required a Legislative Consent Motion of the Scottish Parliament, under the Sewel Convention, given the effect it would have on matters devolved to the Scottish Parliament.  However, in regards to the Sewel Convention the Supreme Court has ruled that the policing of its scope and the manner of its operation does not lie within the constitutional remit of the judiciary. This means the Scottish Parliament, as with the other devolved administrations, cannot veto the triggering of Article 50.

 

Can the UK government launch the process to leave the EU without an Act of Parliament?

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© Jay Gavin Licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

This is what the Supreme Court will be considering today in a case expected to last 4 days.  Follow it live here.

The case is about prerogative powers, defined by the High Court in the original case as “the residue of legal authority left in the hands of the Crown” however as the UK has a sovereign parliament it is argued that prerogative powers cannot be used to overrule legislation. The government argues, however, in does have the prerogative power to “make and unmake treaties” allowing it to launch the process without requiring an Act of Parliament.

The Scottish Government is also involved in this case. The Lord Advocate’s intervention proposes that triggering article 50 requires an Act of the UK Parliament and as a result requires a Legislative Consent Motion of the Scottish Parliament as matters devolved to them are involved.