Supreme Court Hearing on Brexit: A Personal Record (Robert Henderson)
We have had the four days of the Supreme Court hearing which is now over and the judges will not issue their written verdict until the New Year.
It has been four days of extreme tedium, full of highly-paid briefs over-egging the pudding with too many examples to prove a particular point, much irrelevant argument, a huge amount of referring to batch that and manuscript number this with frequent inability of all eleven judges being able to find the relevant document, and shameless toadying by the presenting lawyers with frequent references to cases that one or the other of the Supreme Court judges had presided over.
The quality of the lawyers varied greatly. The strongest performers were Lord Keen for the Government and Lord Pannick and Richard Gordon for the opposition. The weakest performers were James Wolffe QC, for the Scottish government who was pathetically nervous, and a Sikh advocate by the name of Manjit Gill QC appearing for EEA citizens in the UK. Gill was was so inept that the Lord President of the Court Neuberger ended up treating him like an appellant in person, constantly hurrying him along and clarifying what Gil’s rambling amounted to.
The judges for their part have made all too frequent interruptions as most of them were anxious to get their names on the scoreboard as it were and appear in the record of the official court proceedings. Having eleven people able to interrupt at will is absurd. The format of the court needs to be changed.
I have watched an hour or two on each day. Judged by the interventions by the eleven judges, I would hazard a guess that the court will toss out the devolution arguments, but could decide that an Act is required to to trigger Article 50.