The Supreme Court is to rule on whether IndyRef2 – the second referendum on Scottish independence – can go ahead without the UK government’s permission.
Arguments will be held with the judges on October 11 and 12 and the verdict is expected in the next few months.
The result could give the Scottish people another talk on their independence after a referendum in 2014, when a small majority voted to remain in the UK.
Now, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon intends to have a second vote – but the Supreme Court has to decide whether it can go ahead. Find out why below.
What is IndyRef2?
IndyRef2 is a nickname for the second independence referendum that Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon intends to hold this month.
The first referendum was held on 18 September 2014, when 55 percent of the people of Scotland voted against independence.
However, during the Brexit referendum, while the UK voted to leave the European Union, 62 per cent of Scotland voted to remain.
The SNP argued that “Scotland being pulled out of the EU against our will” would justify a second vote on independence.
Sturgeon then requested that a referendum be held in 2020, but the then Prime Minister Boris Johnson refused.
Despite this, the 2021 Scottish Parliament election campaign resulted in a majority in the referendum.
In 2022, Sturgeon plans to hold a referendum, which she intends to hold on October 19, 2023.
Why is the Supreme Court ruling on the indyref2 case?
There has been debate as to whether Scotland has the power to pass a referendum bill without Westminster’s support.
While campaigning to become leader of the Conservatives, Prime Minister Liz Truss said she would “not allow” another vote on independence.
In 2014, the UK and Scotland agreed on terms that would give Scotland the power to hold a referendum, but this was only temporary.
Therefore, the Supreme Court has to rule on the Scottish government’s plans for an independence referendum, and whether or not Holrod has the power to proceed with the vote.
The Supreme Court is the final court of appeal for civil cases in the UK and for criminal cases in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The draft bill, which will be considered by judges, states that the purpose of the referendum is to “explore the views of the people of Scotland as to whether Scotland should be an independent country”.
What would the Supreme Court decision mean for Scottish independence?
If the Supreme Court allows Holyrood to proceed with the vote without Britain’s permission, Sturgeon can hold a referendum next October, as she wishes.
During the referendum, Scottish people will be asked to vote whether they want to remain in the UK or become an independent country.
If the majority of voters are in favor of independence, the Scottish government and the UK government could begin negotiations on a separation agreement and future relations between the two countries.
If the majority of voters choose to remain in the UK, it is unlikely that the Scottish government will be able to hold another referendum in the near future.