This morning, campaigners have won a landmark High Court victory over prime minister Teresa May, stripping the Government of the power to trigger UK’s exit from the EU under Article 50 without MP’s vote.
Teresa May had previously announced that she will activate Article 50, formally notifying the EU of the UK’s intention to leave and commencing Brexit negotiations, by the end of March 2017. May says the Brexit referendum in June this year and ministerial powers mean MPs do not need to vote, but campaigners argued this is unconstitutional.
The case was led by investment manager, Gina Miller, who argued that rights granted by the 1972 European Communities Act cannot be taken away without the explicit vote of Parliament. The High Court verdict was made by Lord Chief Justice Lord Thomas, Master of the Rolls Sir Terence Etherton and Lord Justice Sales.
A Government spokesperson said: “The Government is disappointed by the court’s judgment. The country voted to leave the European Union in a referendum approved by an act of parliament. And the Government is determined to respect the result of the referendum. We will appeal this judgment.”
The Government is expected to appeal at the Supreme Court, the UK’s highest court, anticipated on 7 and 8 December 2016. It is uncertain at this stage when a decision will be handed down by the Supreme Court, but as the matter involves the interpretation of EU law, the Supreme Court may refer certain questions to the Court of Justice of the EU, which would result in a further delay to the finalisation of the appeal.
For more information on the proceedings, please see our blog posted on 13 October 2016 “Judicial Review Brexit hearing begins today at the High Court”.