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

I do say that. I also say, I also say, and it is fair to say I come to this case recognising that the Attorney General for Northern Ireland has asked a specific question, albeit focused on the Northern Ireland situation, which raises directly for the court a question which falls to be answered or not answered, if the court takes the view that it cannot appropriately be answered; and that it is right that I make clear what my position is in relation to the convention.

But I do say that on the essential point raised in Miller, that we now are looking to the constitution as it currently exists, we not only have the basic rule which I outlined at the outset, that it is for the Queen in Parliament to change the law of the land; but in a context where we have four legislatures which can change the law of the land, we have a structure of constitutional convention which engages the -- entitles those legislatures to have a voice in the decision.

Perhaps I shall make this point at this stage. I drew the court's attention to the explanatory notes to the Scotland Act 2016. Similarly, the Scotland Act 2012, where again the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament was changed, engaged our legislative consent requirement, and the court can see the explanatory memorandum for that act at MS 10369, paragraph 8.

Indeed my Lord reads remarks about the Sewel convention in Imperial Tobacco, volume 5, tab 41, MS 1619, were expressly directed to changes to legislative competence.

So in my submission there is no -- there should be no dispute that the legislative consent convention applies where there are changes to the legislative competence or executive competence of the Parliament and the Government. That has reflected consistent practice which I have sought to provide information about in the narrative in my case.

What that illustrates in particular, what the application of the convention to the two(?) Scotland Act illustrates, is that a bill may relate to a reserve matter, one which the Scottish Parliament could not itself enact. But may nevertheless, insofar as it has effect with regard to devolved matters, engage the requirement for the consent of the Scottish Parliament.

So my learned friend the Advocate General's argument where he points to the reservation of international relations in my submission is --

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