The bookies’ odds: Will the Supreme Court overturn the High Court’s Brexit ruling?

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And why things might go the other way…


Legal affairs geeks are counting down the days until the Supreme Court gives its much-awaited Brexit ruling, and the bookies are already pretty sure it’ll be a win for the respondents (the claimants).

According to, the odds are 1.23 (or 2/9) that the High Court’s ruling will be upheld and that the government will lose its appeal. That said, “MPs are 1.15 (2/13) to vote for Article 50 to be triggered”, making it likely the Supreme Court’s judgment will not ‘block Brexit’ as many tabloids are making out.

This seems to loosely correlate with the views of the experts. Joshua Rozenberg QC for one has described the High Court judgment as “appeal-proof”. Writing for Legal Cheek on the Miller saga — specifically about the difference between the claimant’s and the government’s arguments — he said:

Pannick’s arguments strike me as much more grounded in the real world. So too are the arguments put by Dominic Chambers QC for the second respondent, Deir Dos Santos.

Other eagle-eyed commentators, like Cloisters lawyer Schona Jolly, have shared similar sentiments.

Of course if one has learnt anything from 2016, it’s that betting odds should not be taken as gospel. Even in the context of this case, at the early stages the country was sure Miller and the other claimants didn’t stand a chance. Even Oxford professor Paul Craig — who student readers may recognise as one half of EU law bible authors Craig and de Búrca — told Legal Cheek:

The legal arguments here are very complex and contestable. My own view is parliament definitely has the power to demand a parliamentary vote before Article 50 is triggered. The issue is that parliament doesn’t show any inclination to do this at the moment. So the question is this: is there a duty enforceable through the courts for parliament to debate and vote before Article 50 is triggered? On this point, my view is no, but that’s what the courts will have to decide.

It was only in the days, even the hours, before the Lord Chief Justice sat down in the Royal Courts of Justice to give his judgment that opinion began to shift slightly the other way. People started to wonder whether the claimants actually had a chance. And then, of course, this happened:

In the context of the Supreme Court’s ruling, these anti-popular opinion murmurs have already started, asking ‘is it really inevitable Jeremy Wright QC and friends’ appeal will be dismissed?’ Some believe Lord Pannick QC, acting for the lead claimant, came under a surprisingly intense shower of fire from Lord Neuberger and the other justices, which may imply the bench took issue with some of his arguments.

Others have pointed out that, while the judiciary is a politically neutral body, it does not operate in a bubble. The wider implications of this decision will be weighing heavy on the justices’ shoulders — will this influence their decision? Rozenberg is quick to say it will not, but we’ll have to wait until the new year to learn the government’s fate.



If parliament does not let Brexit happen then I am actually scared for the judges’ lives. I really reckon that something horrible will happen to them if they keep this up. I am all for the constitutional law but all I am saying is there is a time when people need to give up, before quite frankly, things get a lot worse and I believe that time is now.



Of all the reasons to give up challenging May’s version of Brexit, fear of what thugs will do is the worst one. In fact, if anything, the threat of violence from radical Leavers is a reason for us the Remain camp to dig in.

How did we become so afraid? I’m old enough to be able to remember the IRA’s campaign on the mainland. People were being blown up, but we just cleared the bins out of the stations and carried on. Now, every time something happens, there’s a demand for draconian new powers for law enforcement, or for us to give in on whatever the violent threatening people want.



This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.



It is not what the violent and threatening people want, it is what the majority want so suck it up and live with it.



Remainers are, for the most part, living with it. They’re softening the blow as much as they can and trying to blunt “tiny margin winner takes all, now and forever in most radical interpretation of mandate possible” into “consensus that the vast majority can live with”.

That’s real democracy. Get over it.



Our SC judges live on another planet, with other out-of-touch likes of Jacob Rees-Mogg.

Absolutely zero confidence in them and our justice system which has become a joke in recent years.



Rigorous analysis of the merits of the case there.



Watched J R-M on HIGNFY the other day. Was quite charmed by the man.

And I have faith in our judges: our politicians’ decisions post-2015 general election have hardly inspired confidence.



Not Amused simultaneously spitting her dummy out and shitting her knickers in 3…2…1…



*spits out dummy*


*sharts loudly*



Quite frankly our judges are ridiculous, incompetent and un-democratic. Maybe the law should listen to the people rather then the people listen to the law.


Just Anonymous

Thanks for this. I’m having a dreadful morning and was badly in need of a good laugh!



If you want a good laugh then just look at your sex life.



Lol, says the rabid Brexit pensioner creaking down his local high street with the assistance of his trusty Zimmer frame.

Where would you like me to ship you that Viagra mate? Or was it Cialis?



This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

Just Anonymous

Excuse me? I’ll have you know there is nothing remotely funny about my gimp suit…


Not Amused

Oh dear … I agree with Paul Craig …



To be honest even I am sick of these judges now. Let the people have their choice and make the judges obey it.


Interloper (the real one)

Not me !!

Again !!!
FFS !!!

Fuck off Trumpencock !



The judges are absolute wankers.



Pointless article. It’s guaranteed that the SC will uphold the HC ruling. Literally no-one is suggesting otherwise.

You may as well have written about “The odds on the sun coming up tomorrow, and here’s why it might not….”


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