Saturday 27 May 2017

Lawyer pushes for court to see if Britain can do U-turn on exit

Supporters wave European flags during a pro-Europe rally organised by the Pulse of Europe movement in Berlin, Germany, yesterday. Photo: AP
Supporters wave European flags during a pro-Europe rally organised by the Pulse of Europe movement in Berlin, Germany, yesterday. Photo: AP
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

A leading lawyer will today urge the High Court in Dublin to ask the European Court of Justice if the Article 50 motion can be revoked.

Jolyon Maugham wants the European Court of Justice to ultimately determine whether the UK government could revoke the implementation of Article 50 without the consent of all other EU member states.

That would mean that if the UK did not secure a favourable Brexit trade deal with the EU, the British government could revoke last week's historic move and remain within the bloc.

Currently, Article 50 can be revoked only if the consent of other member states is secured.

The action being taken by The Good Law Project, a group headed by Mr Maugham, is being directed against Ireland and the Attorney General Márie Whelan, in the hope the Irish courts will refer it to Europe's highest courts for clarification.

Mr Maugham previously said that the group would contend that the defendants are in breach of the EU treaties by excluding the UK from EU summit meetings. An EU summit meeting is due to be held at the end of this month to discuss Brexit, but will exclude the UK government.

A motion will be served today at Dublin's High Court by Mr Maugham's group, requesting an urgent directions hearing.

That motion contains a draft of the questions the group will ask the High Court in Dublin to refer to the Court of Justice in Luxembourg. The group said that depending on the stance of the Irish Government, the questions could be referred to the European court tomorrow.

Within the past couple of days, Mr Maugham said his group had served its written legal case against Ireland and the Attorney General. "They will consider that case and have indicated a willingness to discuss the way forward," said Mr Maugham.

"Given that a resolution of these issues is in everyone's interests we hope and expect that these discussions will be productive. We hope and expect to be able to announce that they are."

He added: "If the case gets to the Court of Justice (in Europe) - I expect it to, but there can be no guarantees - then we will ask for an expedited hearing."

It is expected such a hearing could take between four and eight months.

Irish Independent

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