Subscribe to Holyrood updates

Newsletter sign-up


Follow us

Scotland’s fortnightly political & current affairs magazine


Subscribe to Holyrood
by Louise Wilson
21 December 2022
Indyref2 Supreme Court case costs Scottish Government £250k

The two-day hearing took place at the Supreme Court in London in October

Indyref2 Supreme Court case costs Scottish Government £250k

The Scottish Government spent over £250,000 on its Supreme Court case on independence referendum legislation.

Fresh figures show the bulk of those costs were for “external counsel”, coming in at £222,869.45.

A further almost £20,000 was spent on “travel and subsistence” and over £8,000 on “professional services”.

The case was referred to the Supreme Court by the Lord Advocate at the request of the Scottish Government to find out whether Holyrood could legislate for a referendum.

The ruling, handed down last month, concluded the Scottish Parliament did not have that power as it related to a reserved matter.

Scottish Government lawyers had argued that since any such referendum would be advisory, it would not have an immediate effect on the UK constitution.

But judges said that the “effects of legislation are not confined to legal effects” and that a “lawfully held referendum would have political consequences”.

The two-day hearing took place in London in October.

The £20m which had been set aside by the Scottish Government to prepare for such a referendum, which it hoped to hold next October, has now been redirected to a fuel insecurity fund.

There have also been calls to stop civil servants working on independence-related matters.

Scottish secretary Alister Jack told MPs last month that the head of the UK civil service, Simon Case, was looking into the matter.

Speaking after the publication of costs on Wednesday, Scottish Lib Dem leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said: “Scottish Liberal Democrats are calling on the SNP to refund every penny of that money and for all the civil servants working on yet more separation papers to be immediately redeployed.”

Holyrood Newsletters

Holyrood provides comprehensive coverage of Scottish politics, offering award-winning reporting and analysis: Subscribe

Read the most recent article written by Louise Wilson - Hundreds of elderly patients wait more than half a day in hospital, Douglas Ross says.

Get award-winning journalism delivered straight to your inbox

Get award-winning journalism delivered straight to your inbox


Popular reads
Back to top