Soon-to-be Aberdeen LLM student writes to the Prime Minister to tell her why Article 50 notification is illegal

He thinks Brexit should be ‘terminated’, at least until the UK and EU courts consider his letter

An NHS doctor turned future University of Aberdeen masters student has written to Theresa May to tell her that her Article 50 notification is “unlawful”.

Andrew Watt, a radiologist from Glasgow who is planning to start his LLM this year, told Legal Cheek he has “major concerns” about Brexit and wants to stop it “completely”.

In his quest to do so, Watt — who is particularly interested in researching Brexit and the UK constitution — told us he sent the Prime Minister a letter in which he says:

Stated bluntly, I believe [the Article 50 notification] is unlawful… To mitigate the potential huge damage to UK businesses, academic institutions and other entities I believe that the United Kingdom’s unlawful attempt at exiting the European Union must be terminated forthwith.

Relying on a series of complex constitutional law arguments, which can be read in full below, Watt concludes May’s triggering of Article 50 may amount to misconduct in public office, a criminal offence. Speaking to Legal Cheek this morning, Watt continued:

Until UK and European courts examine the arguments I put to the Prime Minister it seems to me to be at least questionable whether Brexit can be carried to completion.

However, May calling a general election has proved a bit of a bump in the road for Watt. For starters, he’s concerned the meeting he scheduled with his MP, Stuart Donaldson, to discuss the letter may now have to be cancelled. He continued:

Since I wrote to her, the Prime Minister has called a general election with the intention of removing uncertainty regarding how Brexit is carried forward. My view is that the Prime Minister’s aim is doomed to fail due to the purported Article 50 notification being unlawful.

You can read the letter in full here:

For all the latest commercial awareness info, and advance notification of Legal Cheek’s careers events, sign up to the Legal Cheek Hub here.

25 Comments

Anonymous

Why is he mentioning political and practical significance of the vote if he is so certain on his legal arguments – they should be objective if able to stand on their own.

(16)(1)
Reply Report comment
Anonymous

This is the worst constitutional analysis I have ever seen – the initial part is simply tautological and confused but, once he gets onto the part about the union of the crowns, it becomes clear what a pretentious (and ignorant) person this man must be.

(36)(1)
Reply Report comment
MC(Donalds) Trainee

This kid is your typical first-year law student who thinks he has a genius argument whilst failing to grasp the basics; the use of archaic language to try and make him sound like a lawyer further supports that. I’m sure I made some fairly daft legal arguments prior to starting my law degree, and even as an undergraduate. Fortunately, I wasn’t foolish enough to publish them for all to see.

(31)(2)
Reply Report comment
Anonymous

My thoughts exactly… I am sure my Constitutional Law coursework was not perfect, but thank god, at least I did not publish it online.

(8)(1)
Reply Report comment
Emma

I really don’t think it’s fair to categorise all 1st year law students as the typical type and clump them all together. They are not all reponsible for one or two idiot who think the know it all. Ive given up bothering at all with a few students due to their attitude, they can’t hold a debate it’s always an argument, they refuse to accept ANY evidence they DEMAND. I’m not in law school to have my time wasted like that. I’m there to learn and i’d hope that without sounding too up myself that i’m off to a better start than those i just don’t bother with due to their know-it-all (but really don’t have a clue and think if they shout loud enough we’ll all give in) attitudes. I simply don’t have time for a so- asked study group in which this is a constant issue. I’m chronically ill so i have to use my time wisely, that kind of student is a waste of my time. I’m happy to debate but be respectful. I do not have time for their nonsense due to having limited time myself. But no student ill or not should have to deal with that, and none of us should be thought of as ‘that type’ when in reality it’s just the odd few that give us a bad name.

(0)(12)
Reply Report comment
MC(Donalds) Trainee

“first-year law student” isn’t a stand-alone clause, it is qualified by the rest of the line. That means you can’t extrapolate any statement to all first-year students.

An alternative example: “he is your typical man who has a criminal record”. The statement doesn’t apply to all men, and doesn’t imply that all men have a criminal record; it sets out that there is a category of men who have a criminal record and that the subject of the sentence is a typical example.

It’s also fairly obvious from my comment that I’ve done an LLB. It’s a fairly small leap from my ‘handle’ that I’ve done it in the last few years. It’s also fairly clear that I don’t lump myself in with that group; I knew that my knowledge was imperfect, and quite frankly, it still is.

Reading comprehension is an important skill if you want to be a lawyer, so you may want to slow down a bit before going off on a rant. You’ll improve with time though, I am sure, but you need to put in the effort. Good luck with your studies.

(5)(1)
Reply Report comment
Theresa May

Dear Andrew,

Earlier this year, Parliament enacted a statute authorising me to Trigger Article 50.

I duly triggered Article 50 in line with that authority.

It really is that simple.

Thank you for your very sweet letter and good luck with your studies – it looks like you’ll need it!

All the best,

Theresa

(54)(1)
Reply Report comment
Bogg Off

Dear Theresa,

What an earth was the point of the Fixed Term Parliament Act if all you numbskulls in the Commons vote for an election when it suits you?

Yours sincerely

Bogg Off KBE

(2)(10)
Reply Report comment
Anonymous

Dear Bogg OFF

The Fixed Term Parliament Act was an act of expedience to provide stability of government during the coalition period. In this respect it fulfilled its purpose admirably. It is no longer necessary in the current political climate. As a post script I would add that, as you no doubt know, Parliament cannot bind itself.

All the best

Tezza

(15)(0)
Reply Report comment
100101000010001

The Queen’s consent is not a difficult principle to understand:

1) the UK’s parliament does not really require it to pass a bill, nor the house of Lords approval for that matter. There are a number of cases and statutes which evidence this. That is, the will of the people (democracy) through parliament is more significant than the HoL or the Crown. Moreover, neither the HoL nor the Crown may challenge or meaningfully curtail parliament; by parliament I refer to the HoC with the electoral mandate and overriding power and obligation to rule/run/manage/administer the UK and it’s people.

2) the crown would never, by convention, withhold it’s consent or the royal assent to the enactment of a bill. This has been the case for over 100 years. Conventions make up a large part of the UK’s constitutional law, and they are rarely broken and even hold legal force in UK courts.

I would give authority for what I have said, but since con and ad law is normally studied in the first year of an LLB I am sure all those with a legal background would be able to find them.

I will not touch upon the other issues he has raised, as they have already been discussed by many well qualified lawyers and academics. Articles available on westlaw UK or at any good library.

Although he is well qualified, he is not a lawyer. He should not try to act as such. The UK people have democratically vote to leave the EU, to give them anything else would be unliberal and undemocratic. (This last paragraph is just my personal thoughts, but all of the above is correct and rebuts the Dr’s letter).

(69)(4)
Reply Report comment
A real genius (LL.B 2:1)

Another one who thinks they’re a genius.

Saw plenty of them at Uni, including some who had breakdowns when they realised that they weren’t God’s gift to the world of law or academia that their schools and/or parents had groomed them to believe.

(2)(0)
Reply Report comment

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.