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The United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union by a margin of 51.9% to 48.1% in a referendum in June and the prime minister Theresa May intends to notify of the intention to leave beginning the two years of talks over the terms of separation by the end of March. Notwithstanding, some campaigners claimed that the government needs Parliament to trigger the process for the UK to leave the EU and appealed to High Court.

On 3 November the High Court ruled that the government did not have the power to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty - that is the one which sets out the constitutional basis of the EU- without an act of Parliament, using its executive powers. As a consequence, the government appealed to the Supreme Court arguing that using its prerogative power is necessary to give effect to the will of the British people and that EU rights and obligations may not only be altered or removed with acts of Parliament.

It is an unprecedented case since, for the first time, the 11 Judges will decide about the lawful process under the British Constitution for leaving, taking into consideration the Scottish and Welsh governments’ positions, in accordance with the High Court, and that of Northern Ireland which supports the UK government.

If the Supreme Court will need clarification on the meaning of Article 50 in order to decide the case and refer the matter to the EU’s Supreme Court, there might be public discontent since this one would have great influence on the UK’s future; if the government will lose, it will be necessary to introduce a bill in Parliament and the timetable for Brexit will be blown off.

The court judgement is expected to be reserved in January. 


The gLAWcal Team

LIBEAC project

Monday, 5 December 2016