Lawyers unimpressed by multi-millionaire Brexiter’s ‘nonsense’ judicial review threat

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By Katie King on

Leave.EU campaign founder has plans to challenge the pro-Remain government, but lawyers don’t think he stands a chance


Lawyers have done a collective eye-roll today after a leading Brexit campaigner floated the idea of judicially reviewing the proposed extension to being able to register to vote in the referendum.

Emergency regulations are being rushed through parliament so would-be voters can continue to register to participate in the EU referendum for another 48 hours. This decision was taken after the registration website crashed hours before the original deadline (midnight on Tuesday), leaving tens of thousands of latecomers unable to sign up.

Pro-Brexiters are not very happy about the government’s decision to extend the deadline. This is because young people dominated the surge of late sign-ups, and those young people tend to lean more towards the government’s ‘vote in’ stance than their older peers.

This has culminated in multi-millionaire Arron Banks — who is reported to have funded the Leave.EU campaign — toying with the idea of legally challenging the delayed deadline.

The 50 year-old businessman has publicly claimed that the extension is an attempt to get more Bremainers on the electoral roll and “rig the referendum”. According to Banks, his lawyers have described the emergency legislation as “unconstitutional”, because:

[O]nce you’ve set the rules you can’t really change it halfway through, and parliament really shouldn’t be doing this.

Though it’s unclear if Banks will launch the judicial review challenge, lawyers have already dismissed it as “nonsense”.

After describing the proposed legal challenge as “hopeless”, legal commentator and barrister Carl Gardner told Legal Cheek earlier today:

I don’t think [Banks] has much of a legal argument, so I doubt this’ll come to court. If it does, the government will surely win: the amendment seem to me clearly intra vires.