Scottish Independence campaigning group Yes Orkney will host the northernmost of at least 14 rallies being organised across Scotland to mark Wednesday’s verdict from the UK Supreme Court on whether Scotland can legislate for an advisory independence referendum.
Independence supporters in Orkney are invited to gather outside Kirkwall’s St Magnus Cathedral from 5.15pm on Wednesday 23rd November for the event, which is being organised under the Time For Scotland banner.
The Court hears appeals on arguable points of law of the greatest public importance, for the whole of the United Kingdom in civil cases, and for England, Wales and Northern Ireland in criminal cases.
Additionally, it hears cases on devolution matters under the Scotland Act 1998, the Northern Ireland Act 1998 and the Government of Wales Act 2006. This jurisdiction was transferred to the Supreme Court from the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.
The Supreme Court’s decision is due at 9.45am on Wednesday, with the #TimeForScotland gatherings in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Dundee, Inverness and throughout the country later in the day designed to highlight Scotland’s quest for independence to the rest of the world.
Robert Leslie from Yes Orkney said:
“Whatever the outcome on Wednesday, we know that the eyes of the world are on Scotland, so we want to see as many independence supporters – from all parties and none – gather on the Kirk Green to mark the ruling on Indyref2.
“The case for independence is stronger than ever as Scotland suffers from the instability of the chaotic Westminster Tory government, which has failed to lead the country on so many levels in recent weeks and months.
“The actions of successive prime ministers and chancellors in 2022 have done nothing but worsen the cost-of-living crisis, with more and more people in Orkney telling me that they have come to the conclusion that there is a better, fairer way forward for Scotland. Fundamentally, we can’t afford the cost of living with Westminster.”
The Scottish rallies will be held in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Perth, Dundee, Greenock, Inverness, Inverurie, Portree in the Isle of Skye, Kirkwall in Orkney, Lochgilphead in Argyll, Selkirk in the Borders, Dumfries and Fort William.
Five small European rallies will also be held by members of Europe for Scotland – campaigning for Scotland to be accepted back into the EU (should Scots so choose) after independence. A message of solidarity with Scotland will be read out at Brussels near the European Parliament, in Berlin under the Brandenburg Gate, in Rome in front of the Colosseum, in Paris at The Auld Alliance, in Munich in central Marienplatz and at the main Edinburgh event.
The Edinburgh rally and parts of other rallies will also be livestreamed by Indy Live on their YouTube channel – https://www.youtube.com/@independencelive
(1) Is the question referred by the Lord Advocate a “devolution issue”? If not, it cannot be the subject of a reference under paragraph 34 of Schedule 6, which would mean that the Court does not have jurisdiction to decide it.
(2) Even if the question referred by the Lord Advocate is a devolution issue, should the Court decline to determine the reference as a matter of its inherent discretion?
(3) 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? In particular, does it relate to: (i) the Union of the Kingdoms of Scotland and England; and/or (ii) the Parliament of the United Kingdom?
The Scottish Parliament has the power to make laws for Scotland (section 28(1) of the Scotland Act 1998 (“SA”)). However, a provision of an Act of the Scottish Parliament is not law so far as the provision is outside the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament (section 29(1) SA). A provision is outside legislative competence if it “relates to reserved matters” (section 29(2)(b) SA). Whether a provision “relates to” a reserved matter is determined “by reference to the purpose of the provision, having regard (among other things) to its effect in all the circumstances” (section 29(3) SA). Reserved matters include both “the Union of the Kingdoms of Scotland and England” and “the Parliament of the United Kingdom” (paras 1(b) and (c) Schedule 5 SA, respectively).
The SA allows the Lord Advocate to “refer to the Supreme Court any devolution issue which is not the subject of proceedings” (para 34 of Schedule 6 SA). A “devolution issue” includes “any other question arising by virtue of this Act about reserved matters” (para 1(f) of Schedule 6 SA).
This reference concerns the proposed Scottish Independence Reference Bill. The Bill makes provision for a referendum on Scottish independence. The question would be “Should Scotland be an independent country?”. The key issue in this reference is whether the proposed provision relates to reserved matters.
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