Monday 22 January 2018

Lawyer to use our courts in bid to allow British U-turn on exit

Jolyon Maugham QC told the Irish Independent he was hopeful the defendants in the case, Attorney General Máire Whelan (pictured) and Ireland, would not oppose the lawsuit. Photo: Tom Burke
Jolyon Maugham QC told the Irish Independent he was hopeful the defendants in the case, Attorney General Máire Whelan (pictured) and Ireland, would not oppose the lawsuit. Photo: Tom Burke
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

The British lawyer behind plans to bring a Brexit legal challenge via the Irish courts is hopeful the Government will not oppose the lawsuit.

The case, expected to be filed on Friday, is being taken in Dublin so that it can ultimately be referred on to the European Court of Justice.

Jolyon Maugham QC told the Irish Independent he was hopeful the defendants in the case, Attorney General Máire Whelan and Ireland, would not oppose the lawsuit.

The purpose of the case is to ask for clarification on whether an Article 50 notification can be withdrawn if a government changes its mind about leaving the EU. The barrister has argued that UK parliamentarians should have the ability to reconsider leaving the EU when the shape of a deal with Europe becomes clear.

Read more: Q and A: The Brexit Supreme Court case explained

"If our working hypothesis that Brexit is what we want turns out not to be an accurate hypothesis, it would be a terrible shame for the UK to be forced to go anyway," he said.

The names of the plaintiffs have yet to be revealed, but they are said to be a number of UK politicians and could include a member of the Northern Ireland assembly.

It will be argued that Ireland and other EU member states have behaved improperly by excluding the UK from a number of European Council meetings since the Brexit vote.

But Mr Maugham said he would certainly be hopeful the Attorney General would not oppose the action.

"I don't think that Brexit is being viewed as anything other than a bad thing for the people of Ireland," he said.

"It is a bad thing economically. It is very alarming for the peace that was achieved.

"In those circumstances it has to be a possibility that the Irish Government forms the view that it is really in everybody's interest that we have certainty."

Irish Independent

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