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Brexit: Jolyon Maugham’s Irish High Court challenge has been discontinued

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QC crowdfunded £70,000

Tax specialist and Devereux Chambers’ barrister Jo Maugham QC has announced on his blog that his Irish High Court Brexit challenge has been discontinued.

Maugham — along with Green Party politicians and fellow claimants Jonathan Bartley, Keith Taylor and Steven Agnew — had hoped the Dublin court would refer two Brexit questions to the European Court of Justice. These questions, the silk explained on the case’s crowdfunding page, are:

First, whether a notification under Article 50 can be revoked. Second, whether, by leaving the EU, we automatically leave the European Economic Area.

There’s clearly an appetite for these legal questions. As we reported last year, just shy of 2,000 donors pledged more than £70,000 to the campaign when it launched in December.

Directions in the case were agreed in April, but Maugham has now announced it will not go to a full hearing. This, he explained in his blog, is because the claimants have regretfully agreed the litigation should be discontinued. He explained:

A number of matters have become apparent. In particular, it is clear that Ireland does not want a reference to the Court of Justice in Luxembourg of the questions in the proceedings.

This has consequences, one of which is the case’s timing. Seeking referral to the Court of Justice isn’t a quick process, and Maugham noted the claimants “might not have a decision on the questions referred much in advance of the date (October 2018) by which both David Davis and Michel Barnier have said negotiations would need to be concluded.”

The second is costs. Hundreds of thousands of pounds in legal fees would need to be raised for the case to continue. Perhaps Maugham and co could obtain this cash, but he said: “I do not want to seek to raise such a substantial sum of money unless I can be satisfied that to spend it for the stated object is prudent. And I regret that I am not.”

So what’s going to happen to the money that’s already been crowdfunded? Speaking to Legal Cheek this morning, Maugham said:

A proportion of the monies raised have been expended on lawyers, none of whom I have any connection with. Indeed I have not sought reimbursement from the monies raised even of personal expenditure I have incurred directly related to the litigation. Nor will I benefit from the residuum of the monies raised which will go to other Brexit-related litigation or charity.

He continued:

I have neither sought nor derived professional, financial or other benefit from this litigation. Indeed, I have given up a substantial part of my paid practice to pursue in the public interest the betterment of my country.

Though the case has attracted some scepticism, lawyers have been quick to share their condolences with Maugham. Employment law and human rights silk Schona Jolly said:

While legal affairs journalist Joshua Rozenberg tweeted:

Comments on this article are now closed.

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32 Comments

Anonymous

Moan moan moan

(5)(7)

Anonymous

phone phone phone

(2)(1)

Anonymous

Bone bone bone

(2)(1)

Anonymous

Ha! Bones boner boner more like

(0)(5)

Anonymous

Working Class (sic) Jolyon is happy tho, lots of mentions and press coverage on his nonsense court challenge.

Maugham’s ego remains exaltant of course.

The poor fools who crowdfunded his jolly are the only losers.

(28)(1)

Alan P

Lol the arrogance of this man knows no bounds.

Tail firmly between legs.

(29)(1)

Gengxit Khan

Now that he has discontinued I propose to move into the Brexit litigation gap by seeking declaratory relief in the Small Claims Court of Ulan Bator. I feel bound to do this for the benefit of my country, and invite funding proposals from those with imperfect grasp of how litigation works.

(15)(2)

Anonymous

Apologies in advance for this off-topic question, but what are my odds of securing a TC with a US law firm with the following GDL grades?

Tort (63), Contract (58), Public (57), EU (56), Criminal (55), Land (53), Equity and Trusts (53)

And with only paralegal experience, but no vacation schemes?

(2)(19)

Anonymous

Slaughter and May needs a person of your moxey apply within-> admissions@slaughtermymay.co.uk

(6)(0)

Anonymous

0%.

(5)(2)

Anonymous

Why 0%? Someone with those ‘poor’ grades managed to “bag a TC” from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe which in my view, is a damn good US law firm. How is this possible? Top 100 law firms wouldn’t even interview someone with those grades…

(1)(3)

Anonymous

Oh sorry, that unnamed person provides such a massive weight of evidence the previous comment must be retracted.

(6)(0)

Keep the faith

That is an average of 56.4, ignore the naysayers and jokers (not all but many of whom do not have a TC themselves). With an average of 56.9 I obtained a training contract with a city US firm. It is completely possible – keep gaining experience. Work on finding ways to bolster your application.

(1)(1)

Anonymous

Which US law firm is this, out of interest?

I’ve spoken to many grad recs of US law firms, some of who openly discourage students with averages of less than 65% from applying…

(0)(0)

Keep the faith

I’d rather not say, but I will say never be put off from applying from anywhere. You’ve your results now so its about making yourself the best candidate possible. There are plenty of people that do not fit the mold of the stereotypical candidate that have the job.

(1)(0)

Anonymous

inb4 Jolyon gets this article removed too. #jolyon4maidenhead

(8)(0)

Anonymous

Interesting legal angle here he said “the residuum of the monies raised which will go to other Brexit-related litigation or charity” however, was that made clear when the money was donated so that this concept was agreed to by those who donated. If not then surely the money was given for a specific purpose and any residue should be returned in proportion to the money donated by each individual taking into account the money spent on legal fees.

(14)(0)

Anonymous

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

(11)(0)

Lord Harley of Counsel

We would welcome an appropriate application from Jolyon in the Privy Arbital Court.

(6)(0)

Anonymous

Where is your appeal up to Alan?

(0)(0)

Anonymous

So, unless I’ve missed something, it has been discontinued because it is being defended by the defendant? Did he expect that it wouldn’t be? Were the backers made aware that this would happen?

(6)(0)

Anonymous

This is a very sanitised, Maugham-friendly version of events. For a much crueller take on events, go to Guido (who had the story up a day earlier).

The explanation about costs does not wash; did he really think the Irish court system would put its credibility with the ECJ at his disposal by obliging him with an immediate reference, no questions asked?

(9)(0)

Ciaran Goggins

We’re going – get used to it.

(6)(0)

Anonymous

I wonder (and I really don’t know the answer) if this recent judgment has anything to do with the discontinuance? http://www.bailii.org/ie/cases/IESC/2017/S27.html

(4)(0)

Anonymous

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

(5)(0)

Anonymous

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

(0)(0)

Dublin Brief

I am a little concerned that it has only recently become apparent that “Ireland does not want a reference to the Court of Justice in Luxembourg of the questions in the proceedings.” He was obviously poorly advised if his Dublin solicitors didn’t tell him that the Attorney General would throw everything she had at the case to stop it from succeeding. It would have been politically unconscionable for her to have done anything else as the defendant to an action designed to use the High Court to intermeddle in the political processes of Ireland’s nearest neighbour.

(9)(0)

Anonymous

I’m sure he’s an excellent legal technician but he has never struck me as particularly astute politically. If he was, he’d surely have realised that the subject of his claim is a political rather then a legal point.

(5)(1)

Anonymous

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

(0)(0)

Anonymous

What in God’s name is a “Brexit-related charity”? And how can it be more worthy of donationsthan those helping alleviate poverty in our increasingly cash-strapped society, exacerbated by Brexit uncertainty?

(2)(0)

Clever boy

This comment was deleted because it offended Jolson Maugham QC.

(7)(0)

LC Team

*Jolyon.

(4)(1)

Comments are closed.