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Supreme Court to hear case that could set precedent for Wales to hold its own independence referendum

19 Jul 2022 3 minute read
YesCymru rally on the left. Picture by Lluniau Lleucu / YesCymru. Supreme Court photo by David Iliff. License: CC BY-SA 3.0.

The Supreme Court is to hear arguments on a case that could set a precedent that would allow Wales to hold its own independence referendum.

The UK’s highest court will decide whether Scotland can hold an advisory independence referendum of their own without Westminster’s approval.

If the Scottish Government are successful it could pave the way for Wales to do the same further down the line.

Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain QC, the Scottish Government’s most senior legal adviser, referred the matter to the court earlier this month in order to determine if the vote, which First Minister Nicola Sturgeon intends to hold on October 19 2023, would be in Holyrood’s legislative competence.

In her filing, Ms Bain posed the question: “Does the provision of the proposed Scottish Independence Referendum Bill that provides that the question to be asked in a referendum would be ‘should Scotland be an independent country?’ relate to reserved matters?”

The UK Government called for the case to be thrown out before it proceeded to a formal hearing, suggesting that the referral was “premature”.

Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price had previously said that if the Supreme Court decided that Scotland can hold an advisory referendum then Wales could do the same.

“If the Supreme Court decides in favour, we in Wales will have a route to go directly to the people of Wales in order to have a mandate for securing our own right to self-determination as a nation,” he told Radio Cymru.

‘Competence’

The Supreme Court confirmed on Tuesday that it had refused an application from Advocate General for Scotland, Lord Stewart QC, which would have required both sides to file “written cases restricted to the question whether the court can or should accept the reference”.

The court said there were two issues to consider, whether it can or should accept the reference, and if so, how it should answer the question put forward by the Lord Advocate.

Arguments on both issues should be heard at a single hearing as a result, the court said, citing “the interests of justice and the efficient disposal of the proceedings”.

Both parties have until August 9 to make written submissions, with confirmation yet to be given on when the case will be heard.

A UK Government spokesman said: “We appreciate the Supreme Court dealing with our application quickly.

“We will proceed to prepare our written case on the preliminary points we have noted, and on the substantive issue, to the timetable set out by the court.

“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.”

The UK Government said it had asked the court to look at a number of preliminary issues and that the court has agreed to do so, and will look at them at the same time as it looks at the substantive case.


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Cathy Jones
Cathy Jones
29 days ago

F*** a referendum, anyone who doesn’t want an independent Cymru should go and live in England…

Leela Shah
Leela Shah
29 days ago
Reply to  Cathy Jones

So realistically that is three quarters of the of the population.

2.4 million people.

What to do you know that they don’t.

David
David
29 days ago

If they refuse, how can they say it’s a voluntary union? It will prove that this is nothing more than Englands last remnants of an empire.

Dr John Ball
Dr John Ball
29 days ago

Why do you insist on quoting Adam Price? His and his party’s conversion to independence was (I emphasise was) as a direct result of the growth of Yes Cymru.
Take a look at the “independence” policy document – the party’s clear and official policy is federation, if it’s OK with their Labour puppet masters of course.

Peter Cuthbert
Peter Cuthbert
29 days ago
Reply to  Dr John Ball

Going back to the news item, perhaps the lawyers amongst readers can correct me, but if Scotland gets approval that does not set a solid precedence for Wales. Scotland joined England in an Act of Union that was ratified by the then Scottish Parliament. I am presuming that the SNP’s grounds are that now Scotland has its parliamet back again it should have the competence to repeal the Act of Union. The situation for Wales is different since English control over Wales comes from the act of war by Edward 1st. Since it is unlikely that we will see an… Read more »

Rhisiart ap Padrig
Rhisiart ap Padrig
29 days ago
Reply to  Peter Cuthbert

The basis for the challenge is the Scotland Act 1998, as amended, not the 1707 Act of Union. It was the 98 Act that set out the basis for the ‘reserved powers’ model, itself reflecting the approach used for the Dominions over a century and a half since the British North America Act of 1867 (check citations!). As that approach was later applied to Wales, there is a chance of precedent applying to Wales. The 1707 Act, which itself could not have imagined holding a referendum, never mind setting out powers for one, is probably irrelevant to this case.

Dr John Ball
Dr John Ball
28 days ago
Reply to  Peter Cuthbert

Thank you – I’m not quite clear as to how this message is a response to mine. However, you have a point about the Tories, but don’t you know that the Labour Party is as much a unionist organisation, if not more so?
Their little helpers in Plaid Cymru are happy to ignore this.

Arwyn
Arwyn
29 days ago

Iesu mowr. I thought we’d left the “go and live in England” retort back in the nineties. And apparently Plaid Cymru don’t stand for independence and want nothing more than a Federal UK. Is this the twilight zone?

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
28 days ago

THE COMMENT THAT STARTS $85 AN HOUR IS A SCAM IF 3 OF US WILL CLICK THE RED FLAG IT WILL GO SAYS MARK MANSFIELD PLEASE DO SO, DIOLCH…

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