Article 50 intervention cost Scottish government £136,000

Mike Russell

It cost the Scottish government just over £136,000 to intervene in the Article 50 case at the Supreme Court.

Brexit minister Mike Russell revealed the sum following questions at Holyrood.

External legal fees accounted for £128,877 of the spend in addition to court fees and accommodation costs.

Mr Russell said the Scottish government had applied to intervene “given the significance of the case for the UK’s constitutional arrangements and the effect on devolved competence”.

Lord Advocate James Wolffe QC was supported by external counsel, whose fees made up the bulk of the costs.

The Supreme Court unanimously rejected Mr Wolffe’s argument, based on the Sewel Convention, that the Scottish Parliament’s consent was required to trigger Article 50, finding that it “does not give rise to a legally enforceable obligation”.

The justices said: “The devolved legislatures do not have a veto on the UK’s decision to withdraw from the EU.”

Lord Hope of Craighead revealed last month that he sought an amendment to the Scotland Bill in 2016 that would have put the Sewel Convention on a statutory footing.

Lord Hope’s amendment stated: “The parliament of the United Kingdom may not pass any measure applying to Scotland that makes provision about a devolved matter without the consent of the Scottish parliament.”

However, the measure was successfully opposed by the Advocate General, Lord Keen of Elie QC and was never put to a vote.

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