JOANNA Cherry has said she is “cautiously optimistic” indyref2 will be granted by the Supreme Court as the hearing kicked off in London on Tuesday morning.

One of the SNP’s top legal minds, the MP for Edinburgh South West, said the written submissions from her party – who were given special permission to intervene in the case, separately from the Scottish Government – complemented rather than contradicted the case put forward by the Lord Advocate.

Critics of the SNP have suggested the case put forward by Dorothy Bain, the Scottish Government’s lawyer in the hearing, essentially argues a second referendum on independence, because it is advisory and not legally binding, is at odds with the party’s arguments another vote is fundamental to the human rights of Scots.

Some SNP MPs speaking privately have said they are not at all confident the court will side with them, however. 

READ MORE: Constitutional experts on their predictions for the Supreme Court indyref case

Speaking outside the Supreme Court today, Cherry told The National: "I don’t think they [the submissions of the Scottish Government and that of the SNP] are contradictory, I think they are complementary. The Lord Advocate has set out in her written submission the case for and against the interpretation of the 1998 Scotland Act, which is central to this case and which she’ll put the case for this morning.

“But the SNP’s written case complements that stressing the sort of principles I was talking about a minute ago – the right to self-determination in international law, respect for governments’ mandates, and the principle of democracy which should be central to the constitution.”

And, she added, even if the Supreme Court sides with the UK Government, the court should make some comment about how “regrettable it is” constitutional relations between Edinburgh and London have got to the stage of a legal battle.

“Even if the Supreme Court finds against the Scottish Government’s submission,” she added.

“The Supreme Court really ought to make some wider comments about the constitutional context of this case, about how regrettable it is, in terms of the British constitution, that the British Government is ignoring the democratic mandate of the Scottish Government.”

But she added she thought there was some hope the court will find that an independence referendum could go ahead on October 19, 2023.

Cherry said: “The outcome of constitutional cases is rarely very predictable and I know that from my own experience because I led the case about the unlawful prorogation in Scotland.

“The chattering classes both north and south of the Border all said we’d lose that case. In the end, we won it flat out, unanimously – both in Scotland and in the building behind me [the Supreme Court].

“So I’m cautiously optimistic. What I’m hoping is that the UK Supreme Court will look not just at the interpretation of the 1998 Scotland Act in very black letter law terms but they’ll also look at it in the wider constitutional context; Scotland’s right to self-determination, which is well established under international law, respect for the Scottish Government’s mandate, obtained at the last General Election, and the principle of democracy which I was taught when I was at law school is central to the constitution.”

As for the SNP’s back-up plan – a de facto referendum held through a General Election, she was more tight-lipped.

“As the First Minister said at the SNP conference at the weekend,” said Cherry.

“She’s going to flesh out the strategy for a general election plebiscite if, and only if, we lose this case so let’s get the judgement in this case first.”