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UK can cancel Brexit, top EU legal adviser says

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As senior Tory ministers face contempt vote over refusal to publish ‘Chequers deal’ legal advice

đź“· Twitter – @EUCourtPress

The UK should be able to cancel its withdrawal from the EU without the consent of the other member states, a top European law officer has said.

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has been considering whether or not Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, the one that sets the Brexit wheels in motion, can be revoked. The petitioners in the case — six Scottish MPs, MEPs and MSPs, along with Devereux Chambers‘ Jolyon Maugham QC — argue the case will help clarify the realistic options for MPs who will vote on Theresa May’s ‘Chequers deal’ a week today.

The legal opinion, drafted by the CJEU’s advocate general, Manuel Campos Sanchez-Bordona, argues that the UK’s withdrawal “may be revoked at any time” during the negotiating period, provided it is done in good faith.

In a statement this morning, Maugham QC said the advocate general’s formal recommendation, which is not binding on the CJEU, “puts the decision about our [UK] future back into our hands of our own elected representatives — where it belongs”. The tax specialist, who has spearheaded a number of Brexit-related challenges in the courts, continued:

“On this critical issue I’m sure MPs will now search their consciences and act in the best interests of the country.”

A whopping 27 EU judges heard the case, referred to the CJEU by Scotland’s Court of Session, in Luxembourg last week. A full judgment isn’t expected till next year.

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In a separate statement, the ECJ said: “In answer to the question from the Scottish court, the advocate general proposes that the Court of Justice should, in its future judgment, declare that Article 50 TEU allows the unilateral revocation of the notification of the intention to withdraw from the EU, until such time as the withdrawal agreement is formally concluded, provided that the revocation has been decided upon in accordance with the member state’s constitutional requirements, is formally notified to the European Council and does not involve an abusive practice.”

The advocate general’s opinion follows the news that MPs had submitted an emergency motion of contempt in response to the government’s refusal to publish the full Brexit legal advice.

The motion, which will be debated and voted on today, calls on MPs to find “ministers in contempt for their failure to comply” and is signed by the likes of shadow Brexit secretary, Keir Starmer and the DUP’s Westminster leader, Nigel Dodds. Labour has hinted it would look to hold senior Tory ministers, which could include the attorney general, Geoffrey Cox, in contempt and seek their suspension from the Commons, the Guardian reports.

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27 Comments

Anonymous

Looks like it could be the end of the road for T May & the Brexit Boys.

Anonymous

By Brexit boys do you mean old Jezza?

Brexit FTW

Yeah yeah whatever Brexit still going to happen. Shut up Jolyon and suck it up like a good boy.

Anonymous

LLL

Anonymous

I mean, with a name like Jolyon, what are we really to expect?

Anonymous

Brexit

Fantastic

VOTE LEAVE, TAKE BACK CONTROL

GIRFUY

Anonymous

Gotta love a bit of BREXIT in the morning

Anonymous

Notice this was posted first of all on the BBC News website. The most liberal of all publications.

Seriously the liberal elite need to listen to the people, who are the majority.

Anonymous

The BBC is tory loving and right-winged.

Anonymous

As if.

Anonymous

The BBC is a total joke and embarrassment to itself

Anonymous

Jog on Jolyon. You might think these vain attempts are good for you (mega rich tax law QC) to maintain the status quo, but you’re oppressing millions of working class people. Dwell on that for a second.

Anonymous

The fact that this muppet is a QC tells us all we need to know about the challenges ahead once we get Brexit done.

Just Anonymous

In Legal Cheek’s last article on this subject, I asked rhetorically why people were wasting time on this issue.

With hindsight, I perhaps should have anticipated the answer: to sway the relevant decision-makers by the political goal of keeping the UK in the EU.

I stand by my previous stance. Article 50 cannot be unilaterally revoked. This opinion is nonsense.

You can read the Press Summary here:

https://curia.europa.eu/jcms/upload/docs/application/pdf/2018-12/cp180187en.pdf

What I find particularly insidious from that Summary is the argument that unilateral revocation is merely a manifestation of a State’s sovereignty, and that, if said State changes its mind within the two year negotiating period, “It would be illogical to force that Member State to withdraw from the EU in order to then have to negotiate its accession.”

On the contrary, permitting unilateral revocation is manifestly illogical, and permits potential abuse by both sides.

As already noted, an individual State could easily abuse this process by effectively granting itself indefinite time to negotiate its withdrawal, contrary to Article 50.3. The Advocate General appears to attempt to deal with this by saying that at all times “the principles of good faith and sincere cooperation must also be observed.” What that actually means in practice I have no idea.

Furthermore, permitting unilateral withdrawal renders it rather easy for the EU to keep any individual State in the union. All they have to do is offer said State a horrendous deal and thereby bully it into giving up on the basis that staying in is better than the horrendous deal on offer.

How a State is meant to manifest a sovereign wish to leave in the face of such clear potential abuse, the Advocate General does not elucidate.

It seems increasingly that, as far as the EU is concerned, you can have all the sovereignty and democracy that you want, provided that you exercise it in the right way.

Anonymous

This is why we do TL;DR

Anonymous

The poster must be a solicitor to produce this ramble

Anonymous

This poster must be a failed pupillage-seeker to produce this non-argument.

Anonymous

“It seems increasingly that, as far as the EU is concerned, you can have all the sovereignty and democracy that you want, provided that you exercise it in the right way.”

The decision does not force the UK to withdraw the notice, it gives the power to do. The UK makes it’s own choice.

Not-Necessary

The EU’s oldest trick. If a vote goes against them, they will try to subvert.

Steven Seagull

Part of the reason for the Brexit vote was that the majority doesn’t want anything to do with the European Court. Their judgement is irrelevant.

We had the referendum with a clear result and now we are leaving.

Remainers are clutching at straws.

Bored

Not irrelevant in relation to Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty though is it?

Or for all of our trade regulations if May gets her deal through for that matter. Perhaps you are the one holding those straws so tight.

Anonymous

The great thing about Brexit is that once a it’s done we can have a good “spring clean” of all these EU shills and stooges – Jolyon, Starmer, et al. The EU simply hasn’t been able to field any charismatic leaders for its globalist open-borders agenda – Junker is an ugly troll, Merkel is a failed, miserable old hag, and Macron is a pathetic little bankers’ stooge.

We have a lot to look forward to. Yes, there will always be people who resist change, but change is a fact of life and – on this occasion at least – it’s going to give Britain a chance to build a totally new and democratic future for itself.

Anonymous

Keir Starmer…why do we the globalists always come up with such shady-looking dudes? Deffo not the kind of guy you would leave alone with your children.

Anonymous

Keir Starmer…why do the globalists always come up with such shady-looking dudes? Deffo not the kind of guy you would leave alone with your children.

I didn't choose the S&M life, the S&M life chose me

Sanchez-Bordona…Troll level 1000.

Anonymous

All the Remainder retweeting anti Brexit posts and resharing similar stuff on Linkedin are acting like they are single handedly stopping Theresa May.

Not Amused

I think it is time for us all to come to the same realisation and conclusion that I have. I made a mistake, as did the majority of my countrymen, in evangelising and voting for Brexit. We will never get a better or even an acceptable deal. We will be better off in the EU.
The youth were right. We were wrong. Time to end the madness and remain.

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