The U.K.'s top court ruled on Tuesday that Prime Minister Boris Johnson's recent suspension of parliament was "unlawful, void and of no effect," paving the way for British lawmakers to return to debating whether or not the take the country out of the European Union.
In a unanimous verdict, the court ruled that Johnson's advice to the Queen to "prorogue," or suspend, parliament for five weeks at the height of the country's Brexit crisis was unlawful and can be examined by judges, overturning the ruling of the high court in London.
The judgment from 11 justices on the U.K.'s highest court follows an emergency three-day hearing last week centered on interpretation of the country's unwritten constitution, and the purpose and context behind how Johnson enacted part of it.
Judgment has been handed down this morning in the case of 'R (on behalf of Miller) v The Prime Minister' and 'Cherry and others v Advocate General for Scotland' https://t.co/yo4BzgEvdE pic.twitter.com/Itok4hmKb5— UK Supreme Court (@UKSupremeCourt) September 24, 2019
Head of the Supreme Court Lady Hale in delivering the judgment said: "This court has ... concluded that the prime minister's advice to Her Majesty [ to suspend parliament] was unlawful, void and of no effect. This means that the order in council to which it led was also unlawful, void and of no effect should be quashed.
"This means that when the royal commissioners walked into the House of Lords [to prorogue parliament] it was as if they walked in with a blank sheet of paper," she said. "The prorogation was also void and of no effect. Parliament has not been prorogued."
While speculation before the ruling was that the court would find against the prime minister, the unanimity of the decision came as a surprise.
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Responding to the judgment, the Commons Speaker, John Bercow, said he would recall parliament on Wednesday at 11.30 am GMT.
Johnson has indicated he will not resign following the Supreme Court's decision.
The British pound was up slightly at $1.2482 in morning New York trading on Tuesday.