A Legal Challenge to Brexit
by Stephen Lendman
Brexit isn’t a done deal, efforts to undermine it well under way, virtually certain to succeed.
The latest shot across the bow came from top London law firm Mishcon de Reya. More on its threatened legal action below.
Previous articles explained Brexit referendum voting was non-binding. Parliament alone gets to decide up or down whether Britain stays or leaves the EU. Majority public sentiment doesn’t matter.
Legally initiating divorce requires parliament invoking Lisbon Treaty Article 50 - an unprecedented step if undertaken, a process to drag on up to two years to complete if begun, providing lots of time for ways to undermine things.
Reportedly representing powerful unidentified business interests, Mishcon de Reya said it intends legal action to prevent invoking Article 50, a statement issued, saying:
“Legal steps have been taken to ensure the UK Government will not trigger the procedure for withdrawal from the EU without an Act of Parliament.”
“The case is being brought…on behalf of a group of clients. Following publication of articles on the subject this week Mishcon de Reya has retained Baron David Pannick QC and Tom Hickman to act as counsel in this action, along with Rhodri Thompson QC and Anneli Howard.”
“The Referendum held on 23 June was an exercise to obtain the views of UK citizens, the majority of whom expressed a desire to leave the EU.”
“But the decision to trigger Article 50 of the Treaty of European Union, the legal process for withdrawal from the EU, rests with the representatives of the people under the UK Constitution.”
“The Government however, has suggested that it has sufficient legal authority. Mishcon de Reya has been in correspondence with the Government lawyers since 27 June 2016 on behalf of its clients to seek assurances that the Government will uphold the UK constitution and protect the sovereignty of Parliament in invoking Article 50.”
“If the correct constitutional process of parliamentary scrutiny and approval is not followed then the notice to withdraw from the EU would be unlawful, negatively impacting the withdrawal negotiations and our future political and economic relationships with the EU and its 27 Member States, and open to legal challenge. This legal action seeks to ensure that the Article 50 notification process is lawful.”
Mishcon de Reya partner Kasra Nouroozi added:
“We must ensure that the Government follows the correct process to have legal certainty and protect the UK Constitution and the sovereignty of Parliament in these unprecedented circumstances.”
“The result of the Referendum is not in doubt, but we need a process that follows UK law to enact it.”
“The outcome of the Referendum itself is not legally binding and for the current or future Prime Minister to invoke Article 50 without the approval of Parliament is unlawful.”
“We must make sure this is done properly for the benefit of all UK citizens. Article 50 simply cannot be invoked without a full debate and vote in Parliament.”
“Everyone in Britain needs the Government to apply the correct constitutional process and allow Parliament to fulfill its democratic duty which is to take into account the results of the Referendum along with other factors and make the ultimate decision.”
In other words, according to Mishcon de Reya, parliamentary approval alone may invoke Article 50. Tory leadership doesn’t have “sufficient legal authority” to act on its own.
University College London senior law lecturer Jeff King sees “a good chance” for the issue “going up to the Supreme Court” - causing more delay, letting High Court justices rule on what some call the most important UK public law case in modern memory.
Mishcon de Reya’s involvement represents a significant attempt on behalf of powerful interests to block Brexit.
Doing so would render majority public sentiment null and void - proving UK democracy as illusory as America’s and what passes for it in other Western countries.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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