Judgment of the Supreme Court in the Brexit Article 50 Case

The Supreme Court has today given its historic judgment in R(Miller & others) v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, dismissing, by a majority of 8 to 3 of the 11 Justices, the Secretary of State’s appeal and upholding the Divisional Court’s decision given in November last year that the Government has no legal power to give notification that the UK intends to leave the EU under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. It follows that in order to do so, Parliament will need to give it such a power in an Act.

Henderson Chambers’ Patrick Green QC, Henry Warwick and Paul Skinner (together with Matthieu Grégoire), instructed by Crofts Solicitors, successfully represented members of Fair Deal for Expats both in the Divisional Court and on appeal to the Supreme Court, who made the case for the interests of the 1-2 million British nationals who live in other member states of the EU, many of whom were not entitled to vote in the referendum.

The Judgment is a landmark decision.  As well as the immediate impact it will have on the process for giving effect to the referendum on whether to leave the EU, it is of considerable wider constitutional importance. In particular, it is the first to clarify the constitutional dividing line between the sovereignty of Parliament, and the authority of the government to enter into or withdraw from treaties where they give rise to rights and obligations in domestic law. It may also have significant effects on the constitutional position of the devolved governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

An Alerter considering all of the ramifications of the decision will be distributed in due course.

For a copy of the Judgment, as well as transcripts from the hearings and the parties’ submissions, see the Supreme Court website here.