The SNP is due to submit a request to intervene in the Scottish Government’s Supreme Court case regarding an independence referendum.
The party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) approved the decision unanimously on Saturday – on the recommendation of leader Nicola Sturgeon.
The SNP’s governing body said the party had the “legal status” to defend its political case.
Lawyers are now in charge of preparing the claim and it should be filed with the court in due time.
It comes as Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain QC referred a potential referendum bill to the UK Supreme Court to determine whether it falls within the powers of Holyrood.
The latest court document filed by Scotland’s top judicial officer said on Friday that the case for holding an independence referendum relied heavily on the vote being “advisory”.
In a 51-page filing, the Lord Advocate argued that the Bill would not be ‘self-executing’ and have no real effect on the union – which is reserved for Westminster – but would merely ‘check the wishes of the people of Scotland for their future”.
Arguments are scheduled to be heard in court on October 11 and 12.
SNP affairs manager Kirsten Oswald welcomed the Supreme Court referral.
She said: “It is important that it is clear as soon as possible whether or not a referendum without a Rule 30 order falls within the jurisdiction of the Scottish Parliament.
“This clarity will hopefully pave the way for a referendum on October 19 next year, and that is what the SNP is actively planning.
“Given the importance of this case to the future of Scotland, the NEC has decided that it is appropriate for the party to apply for an intervention.
“The NEC wishes to give its full support to the argument that an advisory referendum is within the power of the Scottish Parliament, and also to argue that Scotland has a right to self-determination, which – as things stand with Westminster’s Denial of Democracy – can only be upheld by legislation of the Scottish Parliament within its present powers.
The SNP will be able to make its political case if the candidacy is approved.
Ms Oswald continued: “As the largest independence party – which has won every election in Scotland for the last decade – we consider the SNP to have the legal status to represent the interests of the very large proportion of the population. who maintains that Scotland becomes an independent country.
“We also have an important perspective on the legal issues that the tribunal will consider and, in particular, the importance of these issues being decided in a way that respects the right of the people of Scotland to have their say and express their democratic will.
“The decision whether or not to grant the request is, of course, a matter for the court.”