Scottish independence referendum: What time is indyref2 Supreme Court judgement? How to watch Supreme Court ruling live

Judges at the UK Supreme Court are set to hand down their judgement on whether the Scottish Parliament can legislate for a second referendum on independence.

On Wednesday morning, the panel of five justices will deliver their verdict, in the wake of hearing arguments on behalf of both the UK and Scottish governments last month.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Here’s everything you need to know about how to follow the ruling.

Judges at the UK Supreme Court are to begin hearing arguments in a case which could allow the Scottish Parliament to legislate for a second referendum on independence.

What time does the Supreme Court announce its judgement?

The Supreme Court judgement on Scottish independence referendum will be announced live on the Supreme Court website at 9.45am on Wednesday, November 23.

How to watch Supreme Court case

You can watch the judgement on the Scottish Independence Referendum Bill on the Supreme Court website.

A video link to the event can be found HERE

Why is there a Supreme Court case on Scottish independence?

The case that could allow the Scottish Parliament to legislate for another independence referendum was heard over two days on October 11 and 12 by a panel of five justices, including the court’s President, Lord Reed.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

At the heart of the case is proposed legislation in the Scottish Parliament called the Scottish Independence Referendum Bill.

However, there are questions over the legality of an independence referendum that does not have a section 30 order from Westminster – the legal instrument which can grant Holyrood the power to organise a vote.

The Scottish Government’s case has leaned heavily on the vote being “advisory” rather than “self-executing” and therefore has no real effect on the Union.

In a 51-page filing submitted in July, Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain argued the Bill would simply be to “ascertain the wishes of the people of Scotland on their future”.

The five judges have been asked to decide whether the Bill relates to “reserved matters” – meaning it is outside of Holyrood’s competence.

The UK Government, under successive prime ministers, has always maintained opposition to a second independence referendum.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The Scotland Act states “the Union of the Kingdoms of Scotland and England” is a reserved matter.

Who is representing each side in the Supreme Court case?

The UK Government, represented in the court by the Advocate General, is opposed to a second referendum.

The Advocate General has argued in written submissions that a referendum plainly relates to reserved matters and is outside Holyrood’s legislative competence.

Who is deciding the Supreme Court result?

The five Supreme Court judges who heard the case and are involved in the judgement are Lord Reed, Lord Lloyd-Jones, Lord Sales, Lord Stephens and Lady Rose.

What if the Supreme Court rules against the Scottish Government?

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Nicola Sturgeon has said she and her Government will respect the decision of the UK Supreme Court if it rules Holyrood cannot legislate for another independence referendum.

She told the SNP conference: “If Westminster had any respect at all for Scottish democracy, this court hearing would not be necessary.

“Westminster has no such respect, that means this issue was always destined to end up in court sooner than later – better, in my view, that it is sooner.”

She added: “If the court doesn’t decide that way then first, and obviously, we will respect that judgement, we believe in the rule of law.

In the scenario that the case is rejected, she says the SNP will fight the next general election on one issue: “Should Scotland be an independent country?”

The First Minister says this will make the next general election a “de facto referendum”.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

When would the Scottish Government look to hold Indyref2?

If the Scottish Government is successful, Nicola Sturgeon is proposing to hold the referendum on October 19, 2023.

This is within the SNP’s timescale of holding the vote in the first half of the current session of the Scottish Parliament.

What has been said about the Supreme Court case by each government?

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “There is a substantial majority in the Scottish Parliament in favour of an independence referendum and therefore a clear democratic mandate.

“However, as the First Minister has set out, there remains debate over whether the Scottish Parliament has the powers to legislate to hold a referendum.

“Referring this question to the Supreme Court is intended to achieve legal clarity on this point.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“The Scottish Government hopes that a referendum will be deemed to be within the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament and that is now a matter for the Supreme Court to decide.”

A UK Government spokesman said: “People across Scotland want both their governments to be working together, focusing on the issues that matter to them, not talking about another independence referendum.

“On the question of legislative competence, the UK Government’s clear view remains that a bill legislating for a referendum on independence would be outside the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament.

“We will set out our arguments in full at the Supreme Court hearing.”



Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.