I have just finished reading today’s 38-page judgment of the High Court in the case regarding Theresa May’s attempts to bypass Parliament by using the Royal Prerogative.
Apart from the outcome of the case, I’m delighted that it confirmed in such detail what I and many other lawyers had been saying for the past four months.
As complicated legal documents go, the judgment is very readable and sets out the history and background very clearly. There isn’t a single place where the court had any doubt about the outcome or struggled to resolve issues one way or the other.
It is a straight-down-the-line exposition of the consistent British constitutional law relating to the Sovereignty of Parliament and its relationship to the Royal Prerogative. Regardless of the decision of the Supreme Court in appeal, this judgment is going to stand as one of the clearest and most classic statements of the law. It would serve as a text-book section in its own right.
The government has said it will appeal to the Supreme Court. The dates for the appeal hearing had already been provisionally set in early December. It is likely that all the Justices of the Supreme Court will sit – an unprecedented decision that demonstrates the constitutional importance of the case. As I have said before, it is the most important case of its type since the 17th century. Regardless of its eventual outcome, and regardless of the fate of Brexit and of our membership of the EU, there will over the next years or decades be substantial changes to the British constitution, to reflect the flaws that the current debacle has shown up in it. My guess now is that we could have a codified, single-document constitution within ten years.