Scottish court to to hear case for jailing Boris Johnson for breaking the law tomorrow

Scotland's high court is hear a case tomorrow to rule whether Boris Johnson can be jailed for ignoring a law requiring him to ask for a Brexit extension in another landmark case.

My thinking is he should not only be jailed for launching a de facto military coup, he should face civil proceedings and be forced to pay damages to the many businesses who have had to bear heavy losses due to his threat of a no deal Brexit.

In another act of bad faither, Johnson and the Queen plan to suspend Parliament from Tuesday evening to hold a Queen's speech on the 14th, reducing the number of days MPs can sit to scruntinize his new deal or avoid a no deal Brexit disaster on October 31st.

Johnson's newly unveiled Brexit plans have met with little enthusiasm, reports even Zerohedge.

Hard Brexiteers like MP Mark Francois have rallied behind the plan.

From the media

This is the backdrop to the legal case being heard this Friday. From 11am, a Scottish Court will hear what could prove to be another monumental case in Britain’s constitutional history.

It is extraordinary that it has to be brought in the first place: the case will try and force the Prime Minister to obey the law.

Brought by the SNP’s Joanna Cherry QC, and Good Law Project director Jolyon Maugham QC, it will make the court consider what happens if the PM pursues a ‘no-deal’ Brexit against Parliament’s will. Both lawyers were part of the historic case that cancelled Johnson’s illegal prorogation of Parliament in September.


Why is this going through the Scottish courts?

English courts don’t have nobile officium (‘nob off’, to lawyers) jurisdiction – i.e. the power to act on behalf of someone else. But if this goes up to the Supreme Court, the latter will have all the powers of the Scottish Court of Session.

Lady Hale could end up sending that letter on behalf of the PM. (We wonder what brooch she’d wear for that occasion…)

Could Johnson face sanctions or jail if he breaks the law?

“Yes. Judges take pretty seriously the obligation to comply with court orders…The purpose of the action in Scotland is to get the court to order him to comply, and if he doesn’t, then he will face criminal sanctions…[Even] to say you won’t comply with the law is itself an unlawful act,” Maugham says.

And the courts must act now, Cherry and Maugham will argue. “The timetable for compliance with the Benn Act is very tight…If they wait until there’s a breach [of the Act] to entertain court proceedings the consequences of that…may be to thwart Parliament’s intentions. Delay is as good as noncompliance,” he adds.

The case will be profoundly important. “The consequences of this order are irreversible. It’s a serious failure if he refuses to comply. It could include going to jail. I hope it doesn’t come to that,” Maugham says.

If he doesn’t comply, the PM would be in contempt of court. In this instance, the public authorities could act through the Crown Prosecution Service. If they didn’t act, you would expect private individuals to act. In England you can bring private proceedings to challenge contempt of court.