THE Supreme Court battle to allow the Scottish Parliament to legislate for another independence referendum will hear arguments in October this year, it has been announced.

Arguments will be heard on October 11 and 12, the court confirmed almost exactly a year ahead of the date of a proposed referendum, in what will be a hotly anticipated showdown on the future of Scottish democracy.

Commenting on the announcement by the Supreme Court, Constitution Secretary Angus Robertson said: “The Supreme Court’s confirmation that a hearing on the Lord Advocate’s Reference has been listed for 11 and 12 October 2022 is welcome news. The Lord Advocate’s written case has been filed with the Supreme Court and will be published in due course.

“During this period, it would be inappropriate for the Scottish Government to comment any further as the matter is before the Court.”

The National: Constitution Secretary Angus Robertson welcomed the date being setConstitution Secretary Angus Robertson welcomed the date being set

The Supreme Court had set a deadline of August 9 for each government to submit their written cases.

The UK Government stated that they are still preparing their own written case. 

A spokesperson said: “We are grateful to the Supreme Court for setting a date for a hearing. We are preparing our written case on the preliminary points we have noted, as well as the substantive issue, and will submit in accordance with the timetable set by the Court.

“On the question of legislative competence, the UK Government’s clear view remains that a Bill legislating for a referendum on independence would be outside the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament.”

It came after judges rejected the UK Government’s attempt to have the case thrown out before any evidence had been heard.

Tory government representatives asked the court to consider whether it should even accept the Lord Advocate’s referral, as asking if the Scottish Parliament was competent in legislating on a matter before a bill had been passed “raises important legal questions which cut across the statutory process”.

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The SNP said the court’s decision to move on to hear the written cases was a “significant step forward” in the journey to indyref2.

“I’m glad to hear the Supreme Court are not going to be browbeaten by a UK Government that are trying to stop democracy from taking place,” SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford said.

“In the end we will prevail. Let’s wait and see what happens.”

The National: The Supreme Court will hear legal arguments over the referendum bill in OctoberThe Supreme Court will hear legal arguments over the referendum bill in October

A spokesperson for the party added: “The people of Scotland have the inalienable right to determine our own future by choosing the form of government best suited to our needs.

“We must now allow the court the required time and opportunity to deliberate and provide legal clarity on this contested issue.”

The court also confirmed on Tuesday that it had refused an application from the Advocate General for Scotland, Lord Stewart QC, which would have required both sides to file “written cases restricted to the question whether the court can or should accept the reference”.

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The court case comes after the Scottish Government set a date of October 19 2023 to hold an independence referendum.

After that announcement, Scotland’s top law officer referred a prospective bill on another independence vote to the Supreme Court to see if Holyrood could hold a referendum without the consent of the UK Government through a Section 30 order, an issue that has split opinion amongst legal commentators.