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

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An onslaught of Twitter abuse follows

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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.

75 Comments

Anonymous

I don’t want Brexit, voted against it, but accept the misguided vote by the public.

The challenges should cease.

(24)(47)

Anonymous

I completely disagree.

Brexit is not in the best interests of this country. But if it goes ahead, everything possible must be done to ensure that it doesn’t cripple us economically for decades to come.

(54)(8)

Trumpenkrieg

Correction: Brexit is not in the best interests of globalist cucks. In fact, it goes radically against their interests. That’s why everything must be done to ensure it is pushed through at all costs.

(13)(30)

Anonymous

You do realise that many brexiteers in Parliament want to leave the EU to pursue a more aggressive globalist agenda by striking free trade deals with large economies outside Europe. They want to turn the UK in a free trading paradise, or as you call it, make us all ‘globalist cucks’.

(16)(2)

Anonymous

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

Anonymous

The problem with your scenario is that the UK will just be abused by large corporations, that it will be ineffective in controlling, and larger economic players that it will have no protective weight against (ie the USA, China and probably the EU itself).

You EngNats have fucked us all, particularly the working class – who were apparently stupid enough to believe the lies.

Anonymous

This is really starting to do my head in. I understand people are not happy that the majority voted to leave, but seriously, how many more legal challenges are there going to be before they give up or brexit does not happen. I know many people on here are going to disagree with me strongly, but this was a vote and the majority voted leave. People need to just stop challenging brexit and let it happen. Please for the love of god can solicitors listen to the majority. This isn’t about what is right or wrong this is about democracy or law, and I for one think democracy should win.

(47)(34)

Anonymous

Exactly! We need to work together on Brexit to make it as smooth as it can be. The in-fighting and legal challenges will ultimately cause the bigger problems than Brexit itself.

(5)(25)

Anonymous

Completely agree, we need to focus all our energy on getting the best possible deal rather then constantly hindering it and pushing Theresa May to the point where she just puts brexit through to stop all these challenges. Because if that happens then the deal will not be sufficient enough for the economic well being of this country.

(4)(11)

MW

The point of the challenges is that the Government can’t just push through whatever misguided version of Brexit it thinks is best or that it can get away with. Challenges like these make the options clearer and are more likely to ensure a Brexit startegy that reflect the ‘pople’ rather than the 37 per cent.

(24)(4)

Anonymous

I understand your point, but what I am trying to say is that instead of all these legal challenges, the Government should be communicating strongly with different members of the public regarding leaving the EU to ensure we get the best deal. If Theresa May is constantly having to fight legal challenges, then truth be told our brexit deal won’t be as good. Stop the challenges and just start communicating like sophisticated adults that we are.

Jonathan

This causes the PM no headaches at all, it spells out the legal process for Brexit. None of this is subversive, and if the Brexit deal is as good as the Leave campaign said it would be I’m sure a second referendum or parliamentary vote will approve the deal. In this instance I’m sure people like Jo Maugham and myself will accept the result, even if we personally disagree.

Adam

I always love this left wing tripe that says only 37% voted for X.

Most Governments in the history of this country have never had a majority of the population voting for them.

The people who do not vote acquiesce to whatever the majority of those who do vote, decide.

You can’t attribute opposition to people who didn’t even bother to get off their arse and cast a ballot – you don’t know how they would vote.

Not Amused

Are these people pathologically incapable of being honest?

If they don’t think there is something deeply unsavoury in trying to use the legal system to undermine democracy then surely they should just admit that is what they are doing? If instead they do think that there is something deeply unsavoury about trying to use the legal system to undermine democracy then perhaps they could stop doing it?

It all seems very post truth.

(12)(33)

Anonymous

Not Amused: Can you please let us know what definition of “democracy” you’re operating under?

Your constant references to democracy suggest that a pure “simple majority rules” voting system which calls votes on a “this time, last time” is a widely respected and uncontroversial definition. It isn’t. In fact, it’s not too much of a stretch to suggest that the tyranny of the majority has been the number one concern of pretty much anyone who’s ever actually had design a democratic system.

(19)(2)

Anonymous

It would be interesting to see you, or any other EngNat post the truth.

(1)(1)

Anonymous

What is democratic about the government seemingly proposing to carve out special deals for some sectors of the economy (ie car manufacturers and finance)?

Surely that’s not what you voted for? If you’re going to screw us, then we should all get screwed together.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

The challenges are justified. The Great British people were lied to about the legal process of so called Brexit and of course during referendum campaign. Exiting the EU is too complex to leave to the will of the people which is precisely why the referendum was advisory. Parliament must have scrutiny and control over the whole process. If Article 50 is reversible we all need to know. The same applies to our membership of the Single Market via the EAA. I am sorry this ia doing your head in but this is not an X factor vote. Membership of the EU and access to the single market affects the economy and real lives hence the vital significance of the legal challenges.

(29)(6)

Anonymous

You don’t seem to truly understand what you’re going on about. The whole of the UK is built around the idea of democracy and what the people want the people shall get. Why should members of parliament get the final say in this. So is it your view that a few hundred mp’s will university degrees are collectively smarter then 17.4 million people?

You are an idiot and even the majority of Legal Cheek are getting fed up of these challenges. Let the peoples will be.

(3)(21)

Anonymous

Because they know that “MPs” shouldn’t have an apostrophe but “people’s” should?

People with poor proof reading skills shouldn’t call others idiots.

(13)(1)

Anonymous

Ow god no, I made a spelling mistake. Sorry, just ignore every thing I just said, I should leave the comments to genius’ like you. Please accept my apology you stuck up pompous prick.

(5)(10)

Anonymous

Thin skinned leaver has thin skin.

Anonymous

Wow that comeback me 0.00% sense.

Anonymous

Sentences usually require a verb. I am pleased you’re able to calculate the percentages of whatever you were trying to express to two decimal places.

Anonymous

It’s funny that you’re parents are dead and looking down at you thinking “wow, my kid has turned into a cunt.”

Anonymous

This is amazing. You’ve gone on a lawyer/law student website to rail against and insult a bunch of people you see as “idiots” but a few minor corrections to your spelling and grammar have made you lash out with heavy swearing and references to dead parents.

Maybe you’re not really angry about the legal challenges to Brexit or angry about a couple of smarmy corrections. Maybe you’re just angry with yourself. It’s ok. Breathe. Maybe arguing about the constitutional implications of a referendum isn’t the kind of talking you need to be doing.

Anonymous

Or maybe I am just a normal citizen from a poor background who has had enough of rich stuck up people going against the decisions of the poor because ‘they know better’.

Anonymous

I shouldn’t of kicked off but I am just sick of the rich people constantly using the law and money to go against the will of the normal people.

Anonymous

Your newspapers have been lying to you. I’d be angry too.

The Article 50 case is all about making sure Parliament is the one to do it (no one doubts they’ll trigger it if it’s put to them). It won’t overturn the referendum.

The other cases are more technical. If the UK decides to leave the EU but wants to stay in the single market, can it do it without the other countries’ permission simply by not exiting the EEA Agreement? Can Article 50 be reversed? It would be useful to know the answers to these questions in advance, otherwise its our word against the 30 other EU and EEA countries.

We’re doing this. You voted. We have spent millions trying to plan Brexit, billions have been lost from the pound or diverted in investments. In terms of democracy, you’d be hard pressed to find any vote that’s had as big an impact as the EU Referendum has *so far*, no matter what happens from here on in.

All this process is how modern western democracy works. It’s boring, technical and involves far too many lawyers. But it works much better than anything else we’ve tried. So please be patient and please stay away from newspapers that look like they’re trying to make you angry by telling you about scandalous stuff (because they’re probably more interested in enraging you than they are in telling you the truth).

Anonymous

The only problem I find is that both sides of the brexit argument are using legal challenges to communicate. The only way they are speaking to each other is by going through the court, which in my eyes is ridiculous. They should of presented the facts at the referendum and said this is what we’re doing and this is what we’re not doing. I think they need to stop arguing about what is better and start talking about what is better instead. All this court nonsense is gonna put the government under so much pressure and are only going to be prolonging the economical turmoil we are currently in.

We need to get our plan sorted in a quick and responsible manner and then follow through with brexit in a way which even the people who voted remain are not as angry. But all these law suits don’t help. It just feels like we are back in primary school going and telling the teacher and getting your way rather then adults who speak and look at the pros and cons of each argument. I want brexit to happen, but I also want political stability as well as economical stability and at the moment with everything that is going on, we have neither. The parties involved in this need to be smart not stubborn, they need to talk with each other rather then against each other. But the problem is law and politics never really go well together and that is why if this carries on then I believe we will plunge into and economical and political abyss which I don’t think we will be able to return from.

Monika

I see little evidence of Westminster MPs providing leadership, especially sense-making, to their constituents. Maybe most are not bright enough, maybe there are more sinister motives. Try to get into watching Parliament and Court proceedings on-line and, having considered the evidence, make up your own mind. NB. You are automatically discredited if you call people names.

(3)(2)

Richie from Bottom

Monika!!!!

(0)(0)

Tyrion

You cannot mention democracy and then ignore the judiciary as a limb of our democracy. The courts exist for a reason. I’m a remainer, and also don’t support these challenges per say, however people who keep relying on the parliamentary sovereignty argument and then oppose the challenge in the Supreme Court which is trying to reassert parliamentary sovereignty as quite silly.

(6)(0)

Just Anonymous

“Exiting the EU is too complex to leave to the will of the people which is precisely why the referendum was advisory.”

Translation: “Democracy didn’t return the result I wanted, so I refuse to accept it.”

(7)(11)

Anonymous

Since most leave voters cannot even explain how the EU works, the original statement you posted seems about right, actually.

(1)(2)

Woe2Remoaners

Oh and the Remoaners told no lies during the campaign? I thought the economy would have collapsed by now…

(2)(12)

Pantman

No one said the economy would collapse immediately – if you think that was the point made then you were not paying attention. he problems with the economy are going to emerge over the coming years, and we are going to feel the effect for decades.

I saw someone talking about the 2008 financial crash a few weeks ago, from a business standpoint. What he said was that the pain didn’t happen until a couple of years later. Come back and tell us how wrong we were in a couple of years’ time.

(3)(0)

Tim

If Brexit would only affect the people who voted for it, they should have it, but I don’t see why they should be allowed to vote to visit risk and ruin on other people who do not want it. Further, I don’t see why those who do not want it should yield to it.

(12)(4)

Trumpenkrieg

Would you extend that logic to general elections too?

(6)(6)

Tim

Yes.

(1)(2)

Anonymous

Tim face it, Trumpenkrieg can be an idiot sometimes, but he has just fully shut your argument down. You can leave now.

(6)(2)

Anon

If general elections were permanent, and there was no chance ever to change the outcome, Tim would be right.

Trumpenkrieg

Would this not result in no policy being passed, ever, and government grinding to a halt?

(2)(3)

Anonymous

Because general elections are identical to referendum….

Anonymous

Well there is a recurring theme, yano, that lil thing called democracy…

Job

Err… Who’s to say the referendum is forever? We had an EC referendum on 1975.

There’s nothing to stop a future party from running on a manifesto pledging a “re-join the EU” referendum.

Pantman

That is a stupid analogy. If you vote and you lose the general election you will be either campaigning against the government immediately, or you will know that you’ll get another go at it in five years time (maximum).

We aren’t going to get another go at it, we have to get the best out of it now. It’s reasonable to campaign for what you want out of this mess. There is no democratic mandate for the form of Brexit.

This is why Brexit is a bigger deal that Trump. In four years’ time the USA will have another chance for vote for a president. At worst Trump will serve eight years as president. But Brexit is forever – there is no promise of another vote to reverse it in the future.

(3)(0)

Just Anonymous

“I don’t see why they should be allowed to vote to visit risk and ruin on other people who do not want it.”

Well I’m terribly sorry that we allow people with different opinions than you to vote. It must be awfully inconvenient.

That said, there are many countries around the world which only allow the “right” opinion to be expressed in a vote – that is, if they even allow a vote at all. Tell me, which of those countries would you like to live in?

(3)(4)

Kim Jong Un

How abow my won?

(0)(0)

Pantman

The thing is, we can still live in a democracy and never have referenda – we did it for hundreds of years.

Parliament would never have voted for the UK to leave the EU – there’s a reason for that, and we’re all going to find out in the next decade or so.

(3)(0)

Anonymous

48% of the country already know why Parliament wouldn’t have voted to leave the EU. It’s hard of thinking who voted for it who are going to be surprised.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

It’s about how we leave. And whether we have a chance when we see what the terms look like, to confirm that we want to leave. Whether Article 50 is revocable is absolutely key. Who in their right minds would trigger a legal process without knowing what the effect is (and knowing that the other side agrees with their interpretation). Our “negotiating” position is atrocious if all that lies at the end of the negotiation is a cliff fall.

(15)(1)

Scep Tick

“To 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).”

1. Yes.
2. No.

Where do I send the bill?

(2)(3)

Jon Woods

I think perhaps the formal ruling of the European Court of Justice might carry just a tiny bit more legal weight than your opinion here.

So no money for you. Sorry.

(1)(0)

Anonymous

I don’t think we can afford the luxury to put what is a very narrow interpretation of ‘democracy’ on a pedestal in this way. It sounds as though we are still discussing whether or not Boaty McBoatface should’ve prevailed or not, as a name for a boat. The decisions flowing from the referendum are potentially ruinous. The legal system is part of our democracy, should be allowed to play it’s part and will contribute to a better outcome.

(11)(2)

Anonymous

So is he technically a litigant in person? Presuming he is bringing the action in his own name? Or has he created a group to circumvent this?

All seems very bizarre, can’t help but think some of these barristers just want their five minutes in the spotlight, whereas it would make me not want to instruct them personally.

(2)(3)

Anonymous

Am I the only one who thinks the man looks like an absolute bellend.

(7)(6)

Trumpenkrieg

He’s got a face that is asking to be smashed in.

(3)(9)

Anonymous

I think that whenever I see your hero, Donald Trump.

(2)(0)

Anonymous

Trump is too busy smashing in children to get smashed himself.

(1)(0)

Anonymous

Your mum asked me to smash her in last night.

(1)(0)

Pantman

You should be careful what you post – you might end-up explaining it in court.

(0)(1)

Anonymous

I think he must have had a hard life at School being called Jolyon.

And yes, he looks more than a tad self-satisfied.

(3)(2)

Anonymous

Why is this so difficult for people to understand? These are legal challenges over process ONLY – not a single one of these legal challenges can STOP the UK from leaving the EU. Maybe people should do some reading on the issues before they comment online, if only to stop themselves from becoming more exasperated than they already clearly are…

(7)(5)

Rabbi Shekelstein

Don’t worry goy, it’s all about process! We respect the will of the people and would never try to subvert it! We’re just throwing a cartload of money at lawyers to challenge Brexit out of the goodness of our hearts because we care about democracy, you see…

(0)(3)

Jon Woods

Why would anyone want Brexit to be undertaken without adherence to – and clarity on – all the laws that apply ? Making it up as you go along and hoping for the best is fine for a children’s party, but Brexit is incredibly complicated and serious; getting it wrong could trash our economy for years to come. The stakes could not be higher.

If that ‘have your cake and eat it’ wonderland fails to materialise, mass unemployment, hardship and homelessness could take its place. Legal scrutiny of every conceivable implication of Brexit is a protection we should applaud, not resent. Right now, lawyers are doing more to protect the national interest than most MPs. Jo Maugham QC, seeking this time to clarify Article 50 revocation and our EEA status, has my gratitude for his continuing, unpaid work for the public good.

The alternative approach – ‘Let’s leave ASAP and to hell with the law and the economic fall out’- may appeal to the ultra rich, reckless or deranged, but unpreparedness is not a path to the best outcome. The priority after Article 50 invocation will be this: economic damage limitation. This will demand negotiators with vision and sober judgment, not a bunch of Brexit evangelists, running with blind faith to the cliff edge.

(10)(2)

mikey

Well said Jon and i think your gonna have say it a lot more in the future as the brexit taliban have their fingers in their ears !! guys ! its really not rocket science !

(0)(1)

Anonymous

Go back to commenting on the Daily Fail.

(1)(2)

The Monk

Let the great unwashed peasants who voted to leave jump off the cliff and fall into the abyss of economic despair and eternal poverty!!!

(1)(1)

Pantman

Along with Boris, Gove, Rees-Mog…

(1)(0)

Anonymous

Life is too short for this

(1)(0)

Bungo Ferry

Suck it up whiners. Out means out!

(1)(4)

Autoresponder

Thank you for your valuable and balanced contribution to this debate …
… and for confirming the intellectual capacity of a typical brexiteer.

(1)(0)

Anonymous

The most odious legal mind on Twitter. Unsurprising he’s doing this.

(2)(3)

Andrew F.

“Unsurprising he’s doing this.”

Yes it is. This isn’t the first time Jo Maugham has worked, free of charge, to provide certainty on an aspect of law that affects us all. Why does it matter? Because the irrevocability (or not) of Article 50 with its two-year fuse drastically affects our choices after negotiating with the EU 27 over Brexit, and the influence our elected members of parliament have in moderating free-trade extremism and the quality of the outcome.

If it is irrevocable, then after two more years or less we will have to accept any deal the EU 27 offer us – or leave empty-handed with no trade deals in place, jumping out of the plane with no certainty of a functioning parachute. As the EU will not want to encourage more defections, the deal will be unattractive; skydiving beckons. This might appeal to those with Johnson’s Snake Oil still dribbling from their chins, but most will prefer to have a degree of certainty – including many elected members of parliament. This is why we need to know whether or not Article 50, once invoked, can indeed be reversed.

If Article 50 is proven to be revocable, it opens up a third choice after the negotiations: the status quo. If thousands of families are suffering the consequences of a nosediving economy with no sign of relief, then the public mood may look very different. The offer of a second referendum might not then be regarded with cynicism, but welcomed as a chance to revisit Brexit with the fresh eyes of experience. How the public will vote is their business and of, course, we could still leave the EU.

Similarly, we need certainty as to whether our EEA membership survives independently post-brexit so that we can evaluate the choice of alternative trading options. We need to unravel these unknowns … and here is a dedicated QC doing all this work for free.

If you this is indicative of an “odious legal mind”, I’m afraid your logic escapes me.

(5)(0)

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