Permission to appeal

Permission to appeal decision

26 May 2017

The Supreme Court has today announced its decision on the following permission to appeal application. This decision was made by a panel of three Supreme Court Justices following a review of the relevant written submissions.

McFarlane (Appellant) v Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body (Respondent)

MacLeod (Appellant) v Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body (Respondent)

On appeal from the Court of Session (Scotland)

Permission for McFarlane and Macleod to appeal was refused in a case relating to whether their rights to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly under Articles 10 and 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights entitle them to occupy permanently or indefinitely the campus of the Scottish Parliament.

The appellants in both cases belong to a group of individuals referring to themselves “The Independence Camp”. The Camp has occupied the grounds of the Scottish Parliament without permission since 29th November 2015.

In December 2015, the Scottish Parliament sought an order for removal of the group. In the first hearing in the Outer House in May 2016, Lord Turnbull dismissed the appellants’ defences to the order sought as irrelevant, but considered that their rights under Articles 10 and 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights were engaged and directed a further evidential hearing to assess the proportionality of the order sought. At the subsequent hearing, he held that the order was a proportionate limitation of the exercise of their rights, as it only restricted the manner and form of their protest. The order was upheld by the Court of Session of the Inner House.

The Supreme Court has declined to hear the appeal and the Court of Session judgment therefore stands:

The substantive text of the Supreme Court's Order reads: "The Court ordered that permission to appeal be refused because the application does not raise an arguable point of law."