A three member Divisional Court handed down judgment on Thursday 3rd November 2016, in which they unanimously held that the Crown’s prerogative powers may not be relied upon to trigger Article 50 of the Treaty on the European Union.
The Court (composed of the Lord Chief Justice Lord Thomas, the Master of the Rolls Sir Terrence Etherton and Lord Justice Sales) concluded that the rights of UK citizens, derived from European law and given effect in UK law by the European Communities Act 1972, could not lawfully be removed by Ministerial action. When Parliament passed the 1972 Act, it intended to introduce EU law into domestic law in such a way that Ministers could not reverse the process, via the exercise of the royal prerogative.
The Court granted the Government’s application to have the case certified as suitable for a ‘leapfrog’ to the Supreme Court. The early indications are that - subject to the agreement of the Supreme Court – the Government will appeal the decision and the Supreme Court will hear the case before the end of the year.
Tim Johnston appeared before the Divisional Court on behalf of the People’s Challenge Interested Parties.
Martin Chamberlain QC and Emily MacKenzie are instructed by the Scottish Government, who are considering applying to become an active participant in the appeal before the Supreme Court.
Richard Gordon QC and Tom Pascoe are instructed by the Welsh Government, who have indicated their intention to apply to intervene before the Supreme Court.