Supreme Court to consider government appeal in Brexit reversal case

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Lord Reed, Lady Hale and Lord Hodge will form the decision panel

Left to right: Lord Reed, Lady Hale and Lord Hodge

The UK government is seeking permission to appeal against a cross-party legal challenge on Brexit, the Supreme Court confirmed this morning.

In a statement, the UK’s top court said it had received an application for permission to appeal in the matter of Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union v Wightman and others.

The case, which focuses on whether the UK can unilaterally revoke its Article 50 request to leave the European Union, was brought by six Scottish MPs, MEPs and MSPs, along with Devereux Chambers‘ Jolyon Maugham QC. In September, the Court of Session in Edinburgh referred the question to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). An oral hearing is fixed for November 27.

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Theresa’s May’s government has now made an application for permission to appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court. The move comes after Lord Carloway, Scotland’s most senior judge, refused the government leave to appeal the referral last week.

The application has been referred to three Supreme Court justices — Lady Hale, Lord Reed and Lord Hodge — who will form the decision panel. “The court is aware of the urgency of this matter,” the statement added.

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The government’s position is unhelpful here – we need to know whether or not we can unilaterally revoke.



Yes, but if we can it gives greater weight to the argument that there should be a 2nd referendum with Remain as a viable alternative.


They've have mightily cocked this up

If the Remainers win and this goes ECJ it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that court will say ‘no, article 50 can’t be revoked.’

That puts a right ol’ spanner in the works for the campaign for a second referendum doesn’t it. What’s the point of having one if article 50 can’t be revoked?

If there’s no reference to the ECJ, but somehow there is a second referendum by March, and that returns a ‘remain’ result… then all the politicians will agree that Article 50 can be revoked and there will be no need for any reference to the ECJ anyway.

Point is: the campaign for a second referendum have little to gain and a helluva lot to lose by bringing this case and sending it to the ECJ.



What’s to say the EU may nevertheless reject a revocation of Article 50 after a second referendum without a reference to the ECJ in the first instance?



I think you are confusing two questions. This reference will decide whether the UK is legally entitled to withdraw Art.50. Politically, the EU27 are likely to allow the UK to withdraw Art.50 regardless of whether legally the UK is entitled to.


A Euro-lawyer writes....

Since EU affairs are all governed by the Treaty, there is only one question, of the interpretation of Article 50.

This is however liable to merge with the political realities since the most likely outcome of the ECJ reference (if it goes ahead) is that a withdrawal is possible, but not unilaterally. The reason for this is that a mere extension of the two year period to exit laid down by Article 50 requires unanimous consent of the other Member States, so for the more drastic step of withdrawing an Article 50 notification, it would be perverse to allow this to be done unilaterally.

Then it gets really interesting; UK domestic politics would become intertwined with the increasingly strident squabbles between Member States. Italy, Hungary and Poland are all, for various reasons, under fire from Brussels/Berlin. If the EU wanted the UK to remain (and keep contributing all that moolah to the budget) but allowing the UK to remain depended on those countries’ votes, the debate would spill over into something much wider.



Do you really think the ECJ will say that it’s not revokeable? It’s all about the internal market and the ECJ will do anything to ensure the market thrives, including giving a chance for the UK to return.


Chris Darbon

If we can revoke unilaterally why not withdraw the notice and resubmit it the following day? This would give us a free two year transmission period!



It’s not a game of Mornington Crescent.


Thicky O'Twitface

You please explain the rules of the game ‘Mornington Crescent’.

Notwithstanding the fact that I’ve heard it played many times, I haven’t yet managed to work out the rules.


Doug Elliot

There aren’t any!



The rest of the world will be falling over themselves to negotiate trade deals with us once they see us behaving that way, no doubt



I understand what people have about brexit and the implications that the current deal would give the UK if we did leave the EU but can you just imagine for a second the riots there will be if they do stop brexit. It would be mayhem.



All of this is a horrible mess.



The people who are hoping for a referendum are very special people who know better than the uneducated northerners who voted for Brexit.

I hope they succeed.



I’m a northerner and I voted remain…



The North voted to leave, save for a few isolated islands.

If you look at a map of the North West, for instance, showing how each constituency voted, it’s a sea of blue (leave) with just Liverpool and the Wirral as yellow islands (remain).



D- for trolling – try harder next time



Brexit NOW and let’s end this nonsense forever


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