Another Legal Roadblock Thrown Before Brexit as Fresh High Court Challenge Launched
Britain’s Supreme Court has agreed to examine legal claims that Parliament would need to vote again on whether to leave the Common Market after Brexit.
While the most senior judges deliberate on a whether Parliament would need to vote on Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union — a decision which is expected early in 2017 — a fresh challenge is to pile on pressure for Theresa May’s Brexit plan, reports the Guardian.
Presently the British government and the European Commission — the powerful, unelected leadership bloc of the European Union that sits above the European Parliament — are agreed that upon triggering Brexit, the United Kingdom would automatically leave the Common Market and European Economic Area (EEA). However a new legal challenge launched by four anonymous complainants claims this is not the case, and that Parliament will have to vote separately on every European institution the government wishes to withdraw from.
Supporting the new case, the political activist part-responsible for the claims already being examined by the high court Adrian Yalland said:
For a government action to be legitimate it must have both a democratic mandate and be conducted lawfully. Firstly there is no democratic mandate to leave the single market treaty because neither the EU Referendum Act or the referendum question raised that possibility – parliament must therefore democratise any decision to withdraw from the single market treaty by passing an act of parliament.
Secondly, acting lawfully includes fulfilling obligations to withdraw according to the terms of the treaty which means triggering article 127 [of the EEA agreement which requires members to give 12 months’ notification to leave] and not erroneously relying on triggering article 50 of the Lisbon treaty. Until such time as the UK gives notice according to the terms of the single market treaty our rights and obligations contained in that treaty will continue. To ignore or frustrate those rights would be an unlawful act of arbitrary government.
While those bringing the challenge are enjoying anonymity from the court, it is reported they are a mix of British citizens, and those from overseas including the European Union and the European Economic Area. The mix suggests one of the individuals involved in the case may be Norwegian or Icelandic, given their status as being EEA members outside the EU.
The basis of this new claim rests upon an article of the founding agreement of the EEA, which states a signatory withdrawing must give 12 months notice before doing so. It is argued this requirement proves that withdrawal from the EEA cannot be automatic.
A spokesman for the legal chambers bringing the case on behalf of the complainants said of the case: “We are seeking a declaration that the UK cannot withdraw from the EEA without the approval of HM Treasury and an act of parliament.
“These are ordinary working men and women who have decided to make their futures in the UK and wish the UK to be their permanent home. One has mixed nationality; one is a non-EEA national but married to an EEA national. We are trying to highlight the various types of people who will be left in a state of limbo following our withdrawal from the EU”.