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Lord Neuberger on the decision to give Parliament a say over triggering Article 50. (R v Miller [see here]

’24. Finally, of course, there is the Miller case. It was an interesting triangulation exercise between the executive, the judiciary and the legislature. The judges were effectively being asked whether the executive could carry out one of its fundamental functions, international treaty-making and ending, without the formal approval of Parliament in circumstances where the performance of that function would lead to a substantial change in our law. None of the eleven Justices who heard the case disagreed as to the applicable principles: the question was whether by an existing statutory provision, section 2(1) of the European Communities Act 1972, Parliament had given the executive the necessary authority. Eight of us said it had not and three thought it had.

25. It is hard to predict how significant the Miller case will be in legal terms. It remains to be seen once the dust has settled, but the decision affirmed the central role of the courts in upholding the rule of law, and our judgment also affirmed some fundamental constitutional principles including the supremacy of Parliament in the UK’s constitutional arrangements. In addition, because the case attracted so much media coverage, I think that it made non-lawyers more aware of the role of the courts, and gave them a better idea of how justice is administered in this country. The case certainly gave the concept of open justice real meaning and real purpose, and I hope it did the same for the rule of law.’

From a speech on 16th March 2017: Reflections on significant moments in the role of the Judiciary.

The complete text of this speech is on the Supreme Court website.

 

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