The king of crowdfunding? Devereux Chambers barrister raises over £70,000 for new Brexit legal challenge

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By Katie King on

An onslaught of Twitter abuse follows


Devereux Chambers’ Jolyon Maugham QC has, once again, successfully crowdfunded a Brexit legal challenge.

The tax specialist became a figurehead for the Article 50 judicial review case — heard in the Supreme Court last week — after fronting a CrowdJustice campaign to fund ‘the People’s Challenge’ (one of the case’s many claimaints). This weekend, Maugham reached the peak of crowdfunding glory all over again with a new campaign, ‘A Brexit for the 100%’.

According to Maugham, the purpose of this proposed case is:

[T]o answer two questions. First, whether a notification under Article 50 can be revoked. Second, whether, by leaving the EU, we automatically leave the European Economic Area (EEA).

It’s expected the claimants will argue Article 50 should be revocable once it has been triggered, because:

What if the [Brexit] deal is a poor one, one that falls far short of the assurances that were given?… If a notification under Article 50 can be revoked, voters will get to see whether what they were told [by politicians] was true or false. And if it proves false, and damaging to their economic security, it will be open to them to choose to change their minds.

As for the second question:

Staying in the Single Market will deliver free movement rights for ourselves and our children, along with the many economic advantages to being inside the largest market in the world, one that is on our doorsteps. It is important that we understand whether, in a post Article 50 world, we remain in it.

There’s clearly an appetite for these legal questions: donors have pledged over £70,000 to the campaign over the weekend. This will be spent on “court and legal fees”, with Maugham having already instructed Dublin-based firm McGarr Solicitors.

Though the case will be heard in Ireland — a country with “a major stake in whether the UK remains in the EU or EEA” — it’s expected the Irish High Court will refer it to the European Court of Justice.

This referral procedure was explained at length by top law academics in a recent Legal Cheek feature, yet it’s sure to attract contention among the pro-Brexit community. In fact, it seems this has already started.

Over the weekend, Maugham retweeted some of the unsavoury messages he’d received because of his involvement in the Brexit cases.

Like Maugham, Gina Miller, the lead claimant in the Article 50 judicial review, has spoken out publicly about the abuse she’s been subjected to.

In other news, two opponents are planning to launch (another!) Brexit legal challenge in the London High Court, this time arguing we should remain in the single market.

The claimants, pressure group chairman Peter Wilding and Conservative lobbyist Adrian Yalland, are expected to argue the government cannot withdraw from the single market because it has “no mandate” to do so — the question was not asked in the referendum, nor was it in the Conservative Party’s manifesto. More headache for Jeremy Wright QC and co.