Boris Johnson is facing a third legal case to try to block the suspension of parliament after the high court in Belfast held an urgent hearing for an injunction against the prime minister.
The case follows similar legal battles launched in Scotland and England by the SNP justice spokeswoman, Joanna Cherry, and the campaigner Gina Miller.
The Northern Ireland case is being brought by Raymond McCord, a victims’ rights campaigner who has argued that no deal is a breach of the Good Friday agreement.
“We are seeking an urgent injunction to compel Johnson to reverse his advice to the queen to prorogue parliament,” said McCord’s lawyer, Ciaran O’Hare, after the 20-minute hearing on Thursday morning.
The lord chief justice broke his summer holiday to hear the prima facie arguments.
He instructed the applicant and the government’s defence barrister to return on Friday at 10am with expanded legal arguments for a full hearing.
McCord’s solicitors said the decision to hear the case while the court was not in session showed the seriousness with which the judge, Sir Declan Morgan, was taking the case.
They argued that the motive behind the move was to frustrate attempts to stop a no-deal Brexit and that Johnson had prorogued parliament “without democratic intent”.
McCord’s case that a no-deal Brexit undermined the Good Friday agreement was due to be heard on 16 September but, following the decision to prorogue parliament, his solicitors rushed in an application for an immediate injunction.
“You now have cases in Scotland and England but in terms of litigation we believe that the Northern Ireland case is the most urgent because we argue the consequences of no deal here are worse than anywhere else in the UK,” said O’Hare.
“The court really took that on board and will give our arguments serious consideration,” he added.
Lawyers acting for Cherry and 74 other MPs and peers have applied to Scotland’s civil court to block the suspension of parliament. A hearing was scheduled for 12pm on Thursday.
Gina Miller has also lodged an urgent application for a judicial review over the prorogation, arguing Johnson’s move was a “brazen” attempt to prevent the government being held accountable for its conduct before parliament.