4.20pm: Right, we're not kidding here when we say the Gazette office is starting to take on water. Puddles emerging. Probably time to knock off. Thanks for the comments and for following the updates all day. If you need us we'll be floating away down Chancery Lane...



4.16pm: Interesting update from Sky News:



4.09pm: The rain is biblical in London, by the way. Plenty of speculation about people's favourite section of the judgment. Paragraph 61 is winning, based on a straw poll of Twitter.

The section in full: 'It is impossible for us to conclude, on the evidence which has been put before us, that there was any reason - let alone a good reason - to advise Her Majesty to prorogue Parliament for five weeks, from 9th or 12th September until 14th October. We cannot speculate, in the absence of further evidence, upon what such reasons might have been. It follows that the decision was unlawful.'




4.05pm: And now the backlash against the backlash...



4pm: The backlash from Downing Street appears to have begun. BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg quotes a 'No 10 source' as saying the Supreme Court has made a 'serious mistake'.



3.55pm: Nicholas Reed Langan, writing for The Justice Gap website, says the idea of a 'remainer court' conspiring with liberal elites to stop Brexit is 'conspiracy-riddled drivel'. He adds: 'The reality is that this is a vehement statement on the supremacy of the law from a completely united court, emphasising that the institutions that lay at the core of our constitution cannot be unlawfully prevented from fulfilling their duties.'


3.44pm: Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer QC has told Buzzfeed News that Labour will seek to force Boris Johnson to publish the legal advice he received from the Attorney General before deciding to prorogue parliament. This could extend to using a humble address motion in the House of Commons to force its release. Parliament is back tomorrow, don't forget.



3.25pm: Not saying the media has got bored of the nuances of constitutional law, but the Guardian has now devoted a whole article to Lady Hale's spider brooch (see 2.35pm). Describing the Supreme Court president as a 'brooch trailblazer', the article suggests the choice of accessory 'felt pointed - a message on a safety pin'.

A t-shirt with the spider brooch design embedded has even made it ontoEbay, with the seller claiming to be donating 30% of each sale to homeless charity Shelter.




3.20pm: Margaret Heathcote, national chair of Resolution, says today's judgment effectively means the prorogation of parliament has been ruled null and void.

'This gives a crucial second chance to legislation such as the Domestic Abuse Bill, and the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill. These Bills will provide greater protections to victims of abuse, and reduced acrimony between divorcing couples. They have broad support across party divides, and both will make significant improvements to the family justice system.'



2.45pm: The Public Law Project legal charity intervened in last week's hearing, arguing that Boris Johnson acted unlawfully because he did not consider the impact on parliament’s ability to scrutinise the secondary legislation required for an orderly Brexit.

In a statement issued today, the PLP said it has 'consistently highlighted the importance of scrutinising Brexit SIs [statutory instruments] and of safeguards to ensure that they conform to public law standards and do not undermine fundamental rights'.

It continued: 'PLP does not take a position on the UK’s decision to leave the EU. Our work to monitor Brexit SIs reflects concern that they would become a constitutional and legal pressure point and that scrutiny could suffer as a result.  Today’s ruling is a reminder that the Executive is accountable to Parliament.'



2.42pm: If you want more than weather updates, then you can always watch Lady Hale giving the Supreme Court judgment. It's on YouTube now.



2.37pm: The weather is as confused and muddled as the British public, it would seem. Bucketing down again. 



2.35pm: Taking a lighter look at the case, Lady Hale's brooches have earned their own fan club during the last week. Today she sported a spider brooch, which has been identified by some as a flesh-eating camel spider (we cannot confirm or deny this).



2.25pm: The BBC's legal affairs correspondent Clive Coleman opens his response with a simple 'Wow', describing the ruling as 'legal, constitutional and political dynamite'. 

Coleman adds: This is the most dramatic example yet of independent judges, through the mechanism of judicial review, stopping the government in its tracks because what it has done is unlawful. Be you ever so mighty, the law is above you - even if you are the prime minister.'



2.19pm: Lord Chancellor Robert Buckland QC has made his first public statement since the ruling:



2.15pm: Boris Johnson is now coming under attack for his initial response to the Supreme Court judgment. The prime minister insisted he would respect the ruling but in the same sentence talked about the 'the people who want to frustrate Brexit. This has been held up as him potentially undermining the independence of the judiciary.


2.10pm: Reaction has come in from Sir John Major, the former Conservative prime minister who intervened in the progration case.

He said: 'Parliament must now be recalled immediately to recommence its work, and to receive the prime minister’s unreserved apology. "No prime minister must ever treat the Monarch or parliament in this way again.'


1.50pm: Quick weather update (see 9am). London is now bathed in glorious sunshine, which must be galling for the news crews that had to broadcast outside the Supreme Court in torrential rain earlier.


1.26pm: Support for the Supreme Court from a Brexit supporter:


1.25pm: Boris Johnson, speaking in New York where he is meeting with the United Nations, says he strongly disgrees with the ruling and suggests the claimants in the prorogation case were trying to frustrate the Brexit process, albeit he will respect the judicial process. He tells the BBC it was an 'unusual judgment'.

'They thought the prorogation that we chose was not something they could approve of. The main thing is that we will get on and deliver Brexit on October 31... but parliament will come back and we will respect that.'


Source: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire/PA Images

Boris Johnson in New York today



1.18pm: John Bercow, in reopening parliament, made clear he was resuming the session and not recalling MPs. It is clear that MPs believe this means legislation affected by parliament resumes as if nothing had happened. 


1.05pm: Lawyers, look away now please. #inappropriategavels


12.57pm: David Allen Green writes in the Financial Times that today has been the 'one of the most significant constitutional law judgments for a generation'.

Green adds: 'It does not hide behind narrow legal technicalities. Many paragraphs are quotable, and they will be quoted in cases and books for many years. The court has knowingly set out the UK's core constitutional arrangements in as accessible a form as possible.


12.50pm: Richard Atkins QC, Chair of the Bar Council, has said: 'I have repeatedly said in recent days that it is vitally important that the rule of law is observed in the UK. Following the judgment of the Supreme Court in the Brexit case it is even more important than ever that those in positions of power think very carefully about what they say.

'UK judges are independent and held in the highest regard around the world. They decide cases objectively on the evidence placed before them, "without fear or favour". The lawyers appearing before the Courts do not express personal opinions but act on behalf of their clients. I very much hope that there will now be a period of calm reflection and that we do not see any comments using inflammatory language or which seek to vilify the judges or lawyers involved in the Brexit (or any) litigation.'


12.45pm: John Rentoul, writing for the Independent says the impact of the Supreme Court ruling on Boris Johnson 'is about as damaging as it could be, given that Lady Hale could not sack him as prime minister on the spot.

He plays down the effect of the judgment on how Britain will exit the EU, but says it 'wipes out' the prospect of Johnson being able to find a way round the Benn Act, which requires him to agree an extension to the Brexit deadline if he hasn’t secured approval for a deal at the 17-18 October EU summit.


12.37pm: Amber Rudd, until recently the secretary of state for work and pensions, reveals that the Cabinet was not given the chance to scrutinise the legalities of the prorogation decision:



12.26pm: John Longworth, a Brexit Party MEP and chairman of Leave Means Leave writing for the Telegraph, takes a different view. He says the Supreme Court has 'sided with usurping Remainers over the people'.

He says: 'The judiciary should expect to be treated like politicians if they decide to become politicians. Rather than being above politics, their personal views, pre-dispositions and vested interests become a matter for the public.  It is arguable that courts have waded into politics simply by hearing the case on prorogation.'


12.25pm: Writing for the Guardian, Martin Kettle says the Supreme Court’s unanimous judgment ‘amounts to a root and branch rejection of the prime minister’s attempts to rule without parliament, to take Britain out of the European Union by 31 October without a deal, and to contrive a premature general election’.

Praising the judgment for being ‘incisive and without waffle’, he adds that ‘constitutionally, this is a magisterial landmark in the assertion of parliamentary sovereignty against the residual power of the crown and ministers’.


12.17pm: With exquisite timing, the Ministry of Justice has today published legal guidance to prepare for a no-deal EU exit on 31 October.


12.15pm: Speaker John Bercow says he is preparing to open the House of Commons tomorrow at 11.30am. He says there will be full scope for urgent questions, ministerial statements and for applications for emergency debates.


Bercow: House of Commons will resume business from Wednesday

Source: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire/PA Images

There are some people suggesting that bills lost through prorogation, including legislation affecting divorce law, domestic abuse and court reform, could be resurrected as parliament was effectively never shut down.



12.09pm: This is definitely being said in law firms across the nation...


11.57am: Shadow justice secretary Richard Burgon tweets that Boris Johnson has ‘acted unlawfully’ and ‘thought it’s one rule for him and another for everyone else’. There has been no public comment from his counterpart in government, Robert Buckland.


11.50am: As would be expected, the ruling has not been welcomed by everyone. Lots want to talk about the implications for the judiciary.


And this time from the left, another pundit takes aim at the profession:



11.45am: The judgment itself can be read here. Lots to digest, not least Lady Hale's asserttion that the actual prorogation 'was as if the Commissioners had walked into Parliament with a blank piece of paper. It too was unlawful, null and of no effect.'

Lady Hale continued: 'It follows that Parliament has not been prorogued and that this court shouldmake declarations to that effect. We have been told by counsel for the Prime Minister that he will “take all necessary steps to comply with the terms of any declaration made by the court” and we expect him to do so.'




11.44am: Shadow chancellor echoes Corbyn:


11.37am: Hogan Lovells partner Charles Brasted: 'In the eyes of the law, the Prime Minister need take no step now to comply with this judgment.  Whether he will seek to prorogue parliament again in the near future remains to be seen, but he would have to give cogent and lawful reasons for doing so, and it is highly unlikely that it could be of anything like the length previously intended. The law has now returned this matter firmly into the court of politics.'


11.35am: Former attorney general Dominic Grieve tells Sky News this was a decision by the Supreme Court 'to step into a vacuum created bty the prime minister not to observe the unwritten rules of our constitution'.


11.26am: Torsten Bell, director of the Resolution Foundation think tank:


11.23am:  The ruling has even brought politicians together:


11.20am: Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage criticises the prime minister and his chief adviser but not, it should be noted, the Supreme Court judgment.


11.16am: The text of the judgment can now be read here. A reminder that Lady Hale, more in hope than expectation, asked for people to read the ruling before coming to their own judgements.


11.15am: Leader of the Opposition Jeremy Corbyn tells the Labour Party conference: ‘I will be in touch with Speaker to demand parliament is recalled immediately and I invite Boris Johnson to consider his position’.


11.08am: Lots of praise from lawyers out there for Lord Pannick QC:



11.06am: President of the Law Society of England and Wales, Simon Davis, has said: 'Whatever you think of the decision, today’s Supreme Court ruling is a vital expression of the checks and balances that exist in our democracy.

'Our court system and our judges are there so the law laid down by parliament can be interpreted. In a mature democracy it is crucial that the independence of this process is maintained.

'A judge’s ruling is an expression of the law – not of their personal opinion. It would be disingenuous to conflate the two.'


11.01am: Gina Miller, speaking outside the Supreme Court, says today is a 'win for parliamentary sovereignty, separation of powers and the independence of our British courts'.

'We are a nation governed by the rule of law and laws that everyone - even the Prime Minister - is not above.' Miller also thanks her legal team and namechecks her solicitors Mishcon de Reya.


Source: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire/PA Images


10.59am: John Bercow, speaker of the House of Commons: 'I welcome the Supreme Court’s judgment that the prorogation of parliament was unlawful. The judges have rejected the Government’s claim that closing down parliament for five weeks was merely standard practice to allow for a new Queen’s Speech..

'In reaching their conclusion, they have vindicated the right and duty of Parliament to meet at this crucial time to scrutinise the executive and hold Ministers to account.

'As the embodiment of our parliamentary democracy, the House of Commons must convene without delay. To this end, I will now consult the party leaders as a matter of urgency.’


10.58am:  Elaine Motion, executive chairman of Balfour+Manson, which represents Joanna Cherry MP and all other petitioners in the case initially brought at the Court of Session in Edinburgh, said: 

'The unanimous decision of the UK Supreme Court today, to cut down the prorogation, essentially reconfirms the position taken by the Court of Session Inner House. That means that the clock is rewound to 27 August and Parliament is not suspended. It is as if the suspension never occurred.

'It is a huge vindication for the Parliamentarians who led the way with the challenge in Scotland and an even more significant reinforcement of the critical importance of the Rule of Law and the Sovereignty of Parliament. Hopefully Parliament can now get back to its essential work.'


10.56am: Lots of surprise that the Supreme Court justices were unanimous in their ruling. That will be especially damaging for the government.


10.55am: SNP MP Joanna Cherry says there is now no reason why MPs should not return to parliament and she calls on Boris Johnson to resign.



10.49am: The Secret Barrister calls for the PM to resign:


10.45am: The ruling has finished. Lady Hale urges everyone to study the judgment carefully. Adam Boulton on Sky News calls it a 'quite remarkable and comprehensive condemnation of the actions of the government'. His colleague Lewis Goodall is 'quite stunned' and says it could not have been worse for Boris Johnson.


10.43am: The judges have unanimously ruled that parliament has NOT been prorogued. Lady Hale says the decision to advise the Queen was unlawful as it had the effect to 'frustrate and prevent' the ability of parliament to carry out its functions.


10.40am: Hale says 'no justification' for the government taking the action it did has been put forward.


10.38am:  Hale says prorogation prevented parliament carrying out its constitutional role for five days. Says proroguing is 'quite different' to parliamentary recess.


10.37am:  For those struggling to get the Supreme Court feed, it is working on Sky News here


10.35am:  Lady Hale says all 11 justices are unanimous in their first decision. The court holds that the issue IS justiciable.


10.33am: Lady Hale is currently outlining the background to the case. To reiterate, no-one but her and the judges know the outcome yet.


10.30am: Seven justices have taken their seats in court. Lord Pannick QC, who represented Miller, is also present. We're almost good to go...

Screen Shot 2019-09-24 at 10.32.03


10.25: The reading out of the ruling can be viewed on the Supreme Court website here. The site is a little slow at the moment as people try to watch. In one hour alone last week the Supreme Court site had 2.8m requests to view, with figures comfortably breaking all previous records.


10.22am:  Worth noting there is more at stake than prorogation today. Several pieces of legislation, including the Domestic Abuse Bill and the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill, were lost - albeit for now - after parliament closed down. If MPs are summoned back to Westminster, there is the chance they could be revived.


10.20am:  Plenty of predictions from the legal world and beyond...



10.15am: The Mail Online outlines four possible options for the Supreme Court:

* Boris Johnson wins and the five-week suspension of parliament continues to 14 October

* The court rules his suspension of parliament is unlawful, but judges do not demand parliament is recalled after deciding they cannot intervene.

* Judges rules that Johnson must recall parliament before 14 October.

* Judges go for the ‘nuclear option’, ruling the suspension unlawful and that parliament’s session did not stop – meaning MPs could return this week.


10.10am: Legal commentator and Gazette columnist Joshua Rozenberg says the oral summary of the judgment will only last a few minutes, with written copies of the full judgment posted online. No-one – neither the parties or the media – has had advanced copies of the result, so the first anyone knows will be when Lady Hale gives the ruling.

If the court is divided then a simple majority will decide the case. In that event, Rozenberg expects Lady Hale to tell us which of the judges are in the majority and which are in the minority. There can be no further appeal.


10am: It may also be interesting to see what comment - if any - comes from lord chancellor Robert Buckland following's today's ruling. On 8 September he said he and Johnson had spoken regarding the importance of the rule of law, 'which I as Lord Chancellor have taken an oath to uphold'.


Source: NIGEL RODDIS/POOL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock



Dr Catherine Haddon, senior fellow at the Institute for Government has tweeted an excellent summary of the implications of the ruling. She explains that the ruling could change government policy, the position of the Prime Minister and even the constitution itself.

Take a look here:


9.50am: The BBC’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg has said the ‘general expectation’ is that the government will lose, but the question may be how serious the nature of the defeat will be.

She writes: ‘Will the court judge that the prime minister misled the Queen? That is about as serious as it gets. Or will they want to draw a line in the sand and say this appears to have been disproportionate, but wont actually recommend any action? It could be a day that really, really changes things.’


9.45am: One of the chief concerns among members of the legal profession has been the danger of the media undermining the independence of the judiciary. A Sunday Times article quoted a Number 10 source as warning the judiciary about ‘taking sides’ over Brexit.

In response, Richard Atkins QC, chair of the Bar Council, said yesterday: ‘It is a low point in the history of our nation when a faceless ‘No10 source’ refers to "remainiac lawyers" and issues threats to the judiciary about its constitutional role suggesting that judges take sides.

‘The rule of law and the independence of the judiciary are fundamental pillars of our democracy. Judges do not take sides as the Downing Street source suggests, but apply the law "without fear or favour”.’



9.40am: Excitement is building in the legal community...




Gina Miller arrives at the Supreme Court

Source: James Veysey/Shutterstock



9.30am: The court has quite the task on its hands. It has heard an appeal from campaigner and businesswoman Gina Miller against the English High Court’s decision that prorogation was purely political and not a matter for the courts.

It also heard an appeal from the government against the ruling of Scotland’s Court of Session that prorogation was unlawful and used to ‘stymie’ parliament. This case is referred to as Cherry, as it was brought by a group of MPs and peers led by the SNP’s Joanna Cherry.

The two rulings came up with pretty much opposing outcomes. Now the Supreme Court has to decide which was right.


9.25am: On Twitter legal commentator David Allen Green shares four things to look out for in this morning's judgment:


9.20am: So who will be the 11 judges ruling on this case? Lady Hale, the first female Law Lord, is the president, in what will be one of her last high-profile cases before retirement in January. She was joined, in an unusually crowded bench, by deputy president Lord Reed, Lord Kerr, Lord Wilson, Lord Carnwath, Lord Hodge, Lady Black, Lord Lloyd-Jones, Lady Arden, Lord Kitchin and Lord Sales. Reflecting the UK-wide nature of the court, two judges are from Scottish and one each from Northern Ireland and Wales.


9.15am: To recap: The Supreme Court and its 11 justices must decide on two issues: is proroguing of parliament something courts can make a judgement on, and if so was it lawful? The government shut down parliament earlier this month, saying it wanted to hold a new Queen's Speech on 14 October and set out legislative plans for the next year.

But the move was bitterly opposed by MPs and campaigners, who saw the move as a tactic to reduce sitting time ahead of the 31 October Brexit deadline.


9am: Welcome to our live coverage of previews and reactions to today’s landmark ruling on the government’s prorogation of parliament. Lady Hale, president of the Supreme Court, perhaps under-stated the task when she remarked last week: 'None of this is easy’.

The weather is biblical in London this morning by the way. Lashing it down. This may or may not be an omen.


Media gather outside the Supreme Court

Source: Kirsty O'Connor/PA Wire/PA Images