Scottish Judges Wait to Decide Whether Johnson Met Benn Act

Christopher Elser and Alastair Reed
Scottish Judges Wait to Decide Whether Johnson Met Benn Act

(Bloomberg) -- Scottish judges held off on ruling on a case brought by opponents of a no-deal Brexit to ensure that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson complies with a law requiring he reach an agreement with the European Union or postpone the country’s departure.

The three-person panel, led by Judge Colin Sutherland, didn’t set a date for the next hearing when releasing their decision in Edinburgh Monday. The opponents are seeking a continuation to ensure that Johnson accepts an extension from the EU if it’s offered.

The opponents are not disputing that he has complied with the letter of the law by sending a request last week, but they’re now arguing that he’s not complied with its spirit. In addition to a letter seeking an extension, the government sent two other documents opposing more time.

Johnson will try again to put his Brexit deal to a vote in Parliament in a bid to show the EU that he has the support to get the divorce agreement ratified. But that puts him on a potential collision course with House of Commons Speaker John Bercow, who could decide not to allow a vote because MPs already considered the issue on Saturday.

Jo Maugham, a lawyer who has backed several cases related to Brexit, said the court made the right decision because Johnson “cannot be trusted to comply with the law.”

The Benn Act requires Johnson to seek a delay to Brexit if he hasn’t reached a deal.

To contact the reporters on this story: Christopher Elser in London at;Alastair Reed in Edinburgh at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at, Anthony Aarons

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