Transcripts (perhaps draft) of the Article 50 ‘Brexit’ Appeal hearings at the Supreme Court

Again, it is the standard constitutional position that all prerogative and executive authority comes from the Crown. One can perhaps see why a political agreement took a different view, but when it came to drafting the statute, which is what matters, the correct constitutional orthodoxy was expressed.

While of course the constitutional status of Northern Ireland is given protection, as respects membership of the United Kingdom in section 1, there is no protection in the 1998 Act, or any provision even addressing membership of the European Union. Consistently with its status as a constitution for Northern Ireland, the Northern Ireland Act, in a number of places, imposes limitations on legislative competence, on the competence of ministers, but -- and it does also confer certain powers and duties on the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. No provision in the Northern Ireland Act purports to limit or has the effect of limiting the powers of the United Kingdom Government in international affairs.

There is no provision of the 1998 Act, nor any part of the Belfast agreement, nor the British-Irish agreement which, however they are constructed and taken apart singly or collectively, which imposes any constitutional requirement, the word used in the claimant's case, which the UK Government must satisfy before giving notice under Article 50.

I won't open it to the court but the North/South Cooperation (Implementation Bodies) (Northern Ireland) Order 1999, and that is in tab 8 of the Northern Ireland authorities, does no more than give effect to another international agreement which is set out in schedule 1 to those regulations.

Article 1 of that agreement establishes the special EU programme body, and part 5 of the regulations gives domestic effect to the agreement as respects the EU programmes body.

To suggest that anything in the 1999 regulations prevents the prerogative being used to give notice under Article 50 is to ignore the role of the prerogative in creating the EU programmes body.

Plainly the Northern Ireland Act 1998 can only be amended by or under another Act of Parliament, and we say simply that notifying the European Council under Article 50 will amend not a comma or a full stop of the 1998 Act. That is true of all of the Act's provisions, but I can look at perhaps nine of them, because they seem to have, in the eyes of the Agnew claimants, a particular significance, so that is section 6, section 7, section 12, section 24, section 27, section 98, section 14 and sections 26 to 27.

Starting with section 6(2) --

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