New year before Brexit court ruling

Posted By: December 09, 2016

Irish News (Belfast). Friday, December 9, 2016

The British government faces a wait until next year to find out whether it has won its historic Brexit legal challenge at the UK’s highest court.

Eleven Supreme Court justices – a record number to hear an appeal – will announce their decision “as quickly as possible” in the new year, but no date has yet been fixed.

At the completion of four days of detailed legal argument, Lord Neuberger, president of the UK’s highest court, announced: “It bears repeating we are not being asked to overturn the result of the EU referendum.

“The ultimate question, in this case, concerns the process by which that result can lawfully be brought into effect. As we have heard, that question raises important constitutional issues and we will now take the time to ensure the many arguments presented to us orally and in writing are given full and proper consideration,” he said.

“Having said that, we appreciate that this case should be resolved as quickly as possible, and we will do our best to achieve that.”

The proceedings followed a High Court ruling against the government on November 3.

A panel of three judges, headed by Lord Chief Justice Lord Thomas, decided then that British prime minister Theresa May lacked legal power to use the royal prerogative to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty to start the two-year process of withdrawing from the European Union.

During the Supreme Court case, the justices heard from lawyers for the Scottish and Welsh governments and those representing prominent politicians, human rights groups and individuals from Northern Ireland.