Update on the Fouchet/Shindler appeal to the European Court of Justice

Published:  22 Jan at 6 PM
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As British expat fury grows over the effect of the hated 15-year disenfranchisement rule, many want to know about progress in the Fouchet/Shindler court case.

Basically, barrister Julian Fouchet is hoping last week’s stunning rejection of May’s Brexit deal will help to speed up his European Court of Justice appeal against the EU General Court’s dismissal of his original case claiming that exclusion of long-term British expats invalidated the referendum result. The court’s judgement rested on its assumption that no British expats have as yet been affected by Brexit as the UK/EU divorce hasn’t yet happened.

Since the General Court’s decision, Fouchet has been getting together evidence that the lives of British expats in EU member states have in fact been affected by, for example, being unable to rent a home, get a bank loan, refused employment or any other consequence of losing EU citizenship once Brexit is finalised. A call for evidence of continuing effects on expats’ lives and choices was made through a popular France-based English language newspaper, with written evidence in particular being requested.

In the meantime, Fouchet has submitted a request to the European Court of Justice that its decision be taken in the very near future by instigating an ‘accelerated procedure’, but hasn’t’ heard back from the ECJ to date. The barrister still has hopes his appeal might be ruled admissible before March 29, but admits a full hearing on the facts of the case might have to be delayed until after that date. However, Fouchet is pleased British lawmakers rejected May’s withdrawal agreement, as the ECJ can now rule solely on its legal merits as its decision won’t influence any vote in the deal or call it into question.

He’s hoping a positive ruling by the ECJ might include comments on principles enshrined in EU law which would help ensure all Britons living in EU member states would be able to vote in a new referendum, should there be one.
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