Scotland government seeks to join lawsuit challenging Brexit
Scotland government seeks to join lawsuit challenging Brexit

The Scottish government [official website] on Tuesday announced its intention to join the lawsuit [press release; press conference] challenging British Prime Minister Theresa May’s right to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon treaty [text], which would officially start the UK’s exit from the EU. The High Court of the UK ruled [JURIST report] last week that Article 50 can only be triggered by a vote of the British Parliament and that it is not covered by the Prime Minister’s “Royal Prerogative,” effectively taking it out of the hands of the Prime Minister. The UK government immediately appealed the decision to the British Supreme Court [official website], which is set to have a hearing next month that the Scottish government now seeks to join. If the Supreme Court allows the Scottish government to join the lawsuit and upholds the decision of the High Court, it could mean that both the British Parliament and the Scottish Parliament would have to vote on whether to leave the EU.

After a majority of the British voters voted [JURIST report] to leave the EU in June 2016, a host of legal issues [JURIST op-ed] have arisen regarding the legal significance of the referendum. The referendum is not legally binding, but former Prime Minister David Cameron, had pledged to carry out the result of the referendum. Further complicating matters is the fact that both Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to stay in the EU and have announced intentions to possibly leave the UK. Last month the High Court of Justice in Northern Ireland dismissed a challenge [JURIST report] to the Brexit referendum, alleging that it was not binding on Northern Ireland.