The PM himself surrenders

This is in an encouraging blog from David Allen Green, the ‘intermittent’ FT legal correspondent. The article on yesterday’s Scottish court judgement is well worth reading – even though I’m rather unsure if he – or I – should ever refer to the act as the surrender act… Nevertheless, the conclusion is pretty devastating:

British politics will now be about how soon Brexiters and political journalists realise that the prime minister is committed to complying with the Benn Act, regardless of what is said outside of court.

I have italicised the first sentence for emphasis:

“And one added merit of today’s decision is that there is no order for the Brexiters to point to, so as to blame the judiciary.”

The promises – the averments – were made by the prime minister himself.

Boris Johnson made the promises required.

The prime minister surrendered to the Surrender Act, and today that surrender was accepted.

Interestingly there is to be an appeal to the Inner House of the Court of Session, Scotland’s highest court.

(Interestingly, too, the Court of Session is a corruption of the court of ‘cassation,’ i.e. the French ‘breaking’ of a judgement. This shows the influence of Roman Law on the Scottish legal system as well as ‘La Vielle Alliance’ of Scotland – against, of course, England.)*

I imagine the case may yet go to the UK Supreme Court.

Although I find it hard to imagine the decision will be much different. And by that date, the Benn Act may well be kicking in.

On the Supreme Court membership, there is here, an interesting profile on its President, that Yorkshirewoman, who still lives in Yorkshire, Lady Hale.

Johnson and Cummings, whilst trying to ride roughshod over the UK Parliament, seem, till now at least, to have met their match in the quality of the Scottish and UK judiciary.


* Have since found that, although Scottish Law is a sort of hybrid of English and Roman Law this is not entirely correct – see post below. Sorry.


  1. Andrew -

    I think the Court of Session took its names from its predecessor, the King Council, which was called “the Session” when it undertook judicial business.

    As I understand it, the Scottish Court of Session was established in 1532. When did the first cour de cassation appear in France? Was there one before 1790?

    1. Peter May -

      Your’e quite right and I’m wrong! The cour de cassation was indeed revolutionary – based on what happened before, as ever. I’d imagined that they were called in the same way but thinking about it that’s the last thing you should do if you’ve had a revolution. Previously the appelate courts were called (ironically) Parlements!
      So one of the things I’ve ‘known’ for the last decade blown out of the water!

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