A delay for the Brexit trigger
In a further twist in the Brexit story, the High Court has issued a decision concerning the power to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty to start the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union.
The Court found against the government and ruled that the Prime Minister does not have the power to unilaterally trigger Article 50, but must first obtain Parliament’s approval to do so. Perhaps not surprisingly, the government has announced it will appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.
The Prime Minister had adopted the position that the government can use its royal prerogative to trigger Article 50 without Parliamentary approval. The claimants however argued that such prerogative powers are not available to the government where their use would contravene the will of Parliament as expressed by statute, e.g. the European Communities Act 1972.
The Supreme Court has apparently set aside the 7th and 8th December 2016 to hear the government's appeal of the High Court’s decision. If the Supreme Court upholds the High Court’s decision, it is likely to push the triggering of Article 50 well beyond the Prime Minister’s intended March 2017 timeframe