UK Supreme Court hears appeal on Brexit challenge

UK Supreme Court hears appeal on Brexit challenge

[JURIST] The UK Supreme Court [official website] on Monday began hearing an appeal to last month’s ruling [JURIST report] that only parliament has the authority to trigger the UK’s exit from the EU. The case centers around the question of whether it is constitutional for Prime Minister Theresa May to invoke Article 50 [materials], which is the issuance of formal notice to leave the EU, without parliamentary approval. Attorney General Jeremy Wright [official profile], speaking for the government, stated that “the Government’s case is that it does have legal power to trigger Article 50 on the timetable set out by the Prime Minister. We do not believe another Act of Parliament is necessary.” On the other side, the Welsh government’s legal team will argue that the judgment of the High Court should be upheld, and that an Act of Parliament is required for the UK government to give notice under Article 50. Lord David Neuberger [official profile], Supreme Court President, assured Britons of the impartiality of the highly-contest decision by stating [BBC report] that “this appeal is concerned with legal issues, and, as judges, our duty is to consider those issues impartially.”

A majority of British citizens voted in a referendum choosing to leave the EU. The vote, an extension of British discontent with the EU, defied the suggestions of economists and British leaders, leading to the resignation of Prime minister David Cameron [JURIST report]. The implications of this move extend beyond just immigration, though, as many believe this separation will negatively affect the British economy, which will likely be cut off from the EU’s single market, unless an agreement between the two can be reached. Concern over the economic health of Britain [Reuters report] going into the future led to a global market plunge today, as the pound fell as far as 10 percent against the dollar—a low not seen since 1985. While the vote has fallen in favor of departure, no legal changes have taken place yet [Guardian report], as Britain must take further steps to confirm its separation. The EU has set out a mechanism for leaving in Article 50 [materials] of the Lisbon Treaty, where a member state “may decide to withdraw from the union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements,” and “must notify the European council of its intention.” Under Article 50, a member country can only be removed from the EU two years after notification. While Britain might bypass this process through repeal of the European Communities Act of 1972, it is believed that this would make coming to a preferential trade agreement with the EU more difficult.