Supreme Court rules Parliament suspension unlawful

The UK Supreme Court has ruled that the prorogation, or suspension, of the British parliament by Prime Minister was unlawful.

Delivering a summary of the judgement, Lady Hale QC, the president of the Supreme Court, said the suspension of Parliament was unlawful as it “had the effect of frustrating or preventing Parliament from carrying out its constitutional functions”.

The decision was unanimous on behalf of all 11 Supreme Court judges.

“There is no doubt that the courts have jurisdiction to decide on the extent and limits of prerogative power,” Lady Hale said.

She said that the justices held that parliament’s powers can be undermined if the executive can prorogue it “for as long as it pleases”.

“The power to prorogue is limited by the constitutional principles,” the Supreme Court President said, adding that the decision was “unlawful if it has the effect of frustrating or preventing without reasonable justification the ability of parliament to carry out its constitutional functions as a legislature.”
Boris Johnson had asked the Queen to suspend parliament in the weeks ahead of the Brexit deadline, something his opponents saw as frustrating the ability of Remain MPs to oppose a no-deal Brexit.

But the Supreme Court unanimously declared that the decision “had the effect of frustrating or preventing” parliament from carry out its functions, it said, and was like “a blank sheet of paper”.

The Justices added that the ruling was not concerned with Brexit but simply the decision to suspend Parliament.

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