UK court rules parliament must vote to leave EU

UK court rules parliament must vote to leave EU

The UK High Court of Justice [official website] ruled [order, PDF] Wednesday that the UK government cannot make the decision to enact Article 50 to leave the EU without the approval of Parliament, although the court did not give an opinion on the merits of leaving the EU. Article 50 of the Treaty on the EU [text] governs the process for a nation to withdraw from the EU. The government cannot legally override Parliamentary legislation [order summary, PDF] that affects domestic law. It is, however, up to the government to enact laws and treaties concerning international relations, but this does not extend to issues that can affect domestic law. All the parties agreed that the decision to leave the EU would have significant effects on domestic law. The court ruled that constitutionally, the crown government cannot make the decision alone to withdrawal from the EU, and the Parliament must be involved in the decision. The government said it will appeal [BBC report] the decision to the UK Supreme Court.

British citizens voted in a referendum in June, choosing to leave [JURIST report] the EU, a move termed “Brexit.” The vote, an extension of British discontent with the EU, defied the suggestions of economists and British leaders, leading to the resignation of former Prime Minister David Cameron. The implications of this move extend beyond just immigration, though, as many believe this separation will negatively effect the British economy, which will likely be cut off from the EU’s single market, unless an agreement between the two can be reached. Last month, the government of Scotland announced it published [JURIST report] a draft bill for a second referendum that would give the country the opportunity to consider independence from the UK in light of Brexit. Days later, the High Court of Justice in Northern Ireland dismissed [JURIST report] a multi-issue legal challenge to Brexit. In October, the High Court of the UK heard arguments [JURIST report] about the constitutionality of the Brexit referendum.