Article 50 legal challenge to be heard 13 and 17 October

 

Following a preliminary hearing on 19 July 2016, a two-day judicial review will be held in the High Court before the Lord Chief Justice on Thursday 13 and Monday 17 October 2016 to clarify the constitutional process necessary to trigger Article 50 and enable the UK to leave the EU.

Gina Miller is the lead claimant in a judicial review claim against the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union. The claim seeks clarification from the court as to the constitutional process that must be followed by the Government in triggering Article 50 of the Treaty on the European Union to withdraw the UK from the EU. Ms Miller's case argues that the Government cannot trigger Article 50 without an Act of Parliament. Her legal team will argue that this is required by the rule of law and the sovereignty of Parliament, the principles on which the UK's constitution is based.

Article 50 of the Treaty on the European Union provides for a Member State to give notice of its exit of the European Union "in accordance" with the Member State's "own constitutional requirements". This claim is to clarify what the UK's constitution requires before notification can be given. The Government's position has been that the Prime Minister can trigger Article 50 through the use of the Royal Prerogative powers.

Ms Miller will argue that the UK's constitution does not allow the use of the Royal Prerogative powers in this case, because the act of notification under Article 50 frustrates the rights of individuals and others enacted by Parliament in the European Communities Act 1972. The Royal Prerogative powers cannot be used by the Government to remove or reduce rights granted by an Act of Parliament – the sovereignty of Parliament requires that only Parliament can change its own laws.

The Court indicated in July that, given the constitutional importance of the claim, any appeal will go straight to the Supreme Court and will be decided before the end of this year. This will ensure legal certainty prior to the Government's sending of the notice under its timetable.

Gina Miller said:

"This case is not an attempt to subvert the outcome of the referendum or to keep Britain in the EU.  It is about ensuring for the future of this country that the legally correct process for leaving under the UK constitution is followed. There is only one opportunity for this to be carried out and it should be undertaken in accordance with our laws.

If we do not have clarity over the correct legal way to trigger Article 50, it could result in significant legal disputes and uncertainty over the validity of the notification. My case argues that the executive, i.e. Government, should be held to account by ensuring full Parliamentary scrutiny - and a vote by both houses of Parliament on the required Act – before Article 50 is triggered."

 

 

Notes to Editors:

Gina Miller is the lead claimant in this case. The case of a further claimant, Deir Tozetti Dos Santos, was joined with Ms Miller's claim by

Sir Brian Leveson PQBD in July 2016. There are two interested parties to the claim and one intervenor.

  • An interested party is any person (other than the claimant and defendant) who is directly affected by the claim. They are parties to the claim and therefore have the right to appeal the judgment.
  • An intervenor represents groups who will be directly affected by the claim and will be given permission to intervene they are likely to assist the Court in its understanding of the legal or factual issues.

Lead claimant: Gina Miller

Counsel: Lord Pannick QC and Tom Hickman (Blackstone Chambers) Rhodri Thompson QC (Matrix Chambers) and Anneli Howard (Monckton Chambers)

Solicitors: Mishcon de Reya LLP

Claimant: Deir Tozetti Dos Santos

Counsel: Dominic Chambers QC and Benjamin John (Maitland Chambers), Jessica Simor QC (Matrix Chambers)

Solicitors: Edwin Coe LLP

Interested party I: AB and A Child and KK, PR and A Child (anonymised)

Counsel: Manjit Gill QC, Ramby De Mello and Tony Muman (No 5 Chambers)

Solicitors: Bhatia Best Solicitors

Interested party II: Grahame Pigney and others

Counsel: Helen Mountfield QC (Matrix Chambers), Gerry Facenna QC and Jack Williams (Monkton Chambers) and Tim Johnston (Brick Court Chambers)

Solicitors: Bindmans LLP

Intervenor: George Birnie and others

Counsel: Patrick Green QC and Henry Warwick (Henderson Chambers)

Solicitors: Croft Solicitors