July 19 set for preliminary hearing on Brexit legitimacy

Published:  11 Jul at 6 PM
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Tagged: UK, Citizenship, Euro, England
As Theresa May today become the unopposed leader of the Tory Party and Britain’s PM, the first legal attempt to stymie the initiation of Article 50 was slated for July 19.

High Court judge Mr Justice Cranston has announced the date on which a preliminary hearing will consider a judicial review challenge brought by British citizen Dier Dos Santos. The basis of the claim is that only parliament has the right to authorise the initiation of Article 50 in order to begin the process of formal withdrawal from the EU.

Law firm Mishcon de Reya are handling more legal claims making the point that no Prime Minister has the power to authorise the signing of the Lisbon Treaty article. Dos Santos lawyers claim the referendum result is advisory and therefore is not legally binding nor gives an obligation to government to uphold the Leave result.

Their interpretation goes against David Cameron’s assurance that he will invoke Article 50 and begin the withdrawal process. Today’s speech by Theresa May, given after her opponent for leadership of the Tory party and PM had withdrawn, made the same assurances that Article 50 would be invoked and gave no mention of parliament’s involvement.

Lawyers for Dos Santos claim the decision to proceed without parliamentary approval is ‘ultra vires’, (beyond legitimate powers), as the UK Constitution states ‘notification of withdrawal can only be given after prior authorisation by the UK’s parliament’. Acting for the plaintiff is expert in commercial and international law Dominic Chambers QC of London’s Maitland Chambers.

In addition, the claim will quote recent Foreign Office statements which made clear that only parliament has the right to demand a repeal of the European Communities Act 1972. Its final argument is that the traditional ‘royal prerogative’ powers normally granted to the PM cannot by used to sideline a parliamentary statute.

Meanwhile, criminal barrister Anthony Eskander has posted his opinion that MPs in support of the Leave campaign may be subject to legal action due to their allowing of the misrepresentative slogan claiming Brexit would mean £350 million funding for the NHS. The UK Statistics Authority has already noted the claim was ‘potentially misleading’ for its lack of clarity regarding the UK’s EU rebate.

On another front, Harry Shindler, long-term campaigner for the scrapping of the 15-year expat disfranchisement, is preparing to challenge the referendum result’s legitimacy at the United Nations’ Human Rights Commission. Over 700,000 long-term expats living overseas are estimated to have been denied their voting rights as UK citizens due to the rule.
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