Anurag Deb: A Constitution of Principles: From Miller to Minerva Mills – UK Constitutional Law Assocation

‘In a succinct and surprisingly unanimous judgment in Miller and Cherry [2019] UKSC 41 the UK Supreme Court delivered an unprecedented rebuke to the Prime Minister in deciding that he had not shown “any reason – let alone a good reason” to advise the Queen to prorogue Parliament, ruling that the prorogation was unlawful, void and of no effect. While the Court was anxious (and perhaps over-eager) to stress that the judgment was a “one-off”, constitutional lawyers have and will continue to debate the far-reaching effects of the ruling on the UK Constitution for decades to come. One discrete point that will divide commentators is the precise juridical basis for the decision, with eyebrows raised at the repeated appeals by the Court to common law constitutionalism in arriving at its decision. Aiden O’Neill QC, for the Cherry respondents referenced the landmark Marbury v Madison ruling of the US Supreme Court to highlight the significance of Wightman v Brexit Secretary and perhaps remind the Supreme Court of the momentousness of the prorogation appeals before it. Indeed, commentators have made comparisons between the UK Supreme Court and the US Supreme Court in the course of the increasingly fraught recent constitutional cases. While such comparisons may mushroom in the days (and years) to come, I argue that a tellingly apposite comparison in the underlying ratio of Miller and Cherry lies with a constitutional court on the other side of the world: The Supreme Court of India.’

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UK Constitutional Law Association, 1st October 2019