Irish Government told of plans for court case on Brexit
A letter outlining a top British barrister's attempt to challenge the UK's exit from the EU is to be delivered to Attorney General Maire Whelan on Friday.
Jolyon Maugham QC is seeking to launch "public interest" proceedings in the High Court in Dublin, asking it to refer to the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) the question of whether Article 50, once triggered, can unilaterally be revoked by the British government without requiring consent from all other 27 EU member states.
According to Mr Maugham, if the CJEU were to rule that Article 50 is revocable, it would give the UK power to reject the outcome of Article 50 negotiations and remain in the EU in the event negotiations led by Brexit Secretary David Davis MP yield a deal that was not acceptable to the UK Parliament or British voters.
He said that without this ruling, Britain will be forced to take whatever deal Mr Davis emerges with, or leave with no deal on a range of crucial economic and social issues, including access for British firms to the single market, and the rights of British citizens living, travelling or wishing to retire in Europe.
In a letter to the Attorney General, who would be a defendant in the High Court challenge, McGarr Solicitors, on behalf of Mr Maugham, said:
"Our clients have instructed us to initiate public interest proceedings before the Irish courts against Ireland and the Attorney General in order to seek clarificatory and declaratory reliefs with an end to achieving legal certainty on a number of serious questions."
It continued: "In particular our clients seek to litigate before the Irish courts in circumstances where the UK was excluded from a number of significant EU Council meetings and other EU institution operating functions in a manner premature to the formal notification requirements set out in Article 50.
"Accordingly Ireland is and was a party to the actions taken within the European Council to the exclusion of the UK and its citizens in contravention of the European Treaties."
The letter said litigating the matter before British courts was "impossible" given the UK’s exclusion from the European Council meetings.
"As Ireland and the remaining 27 EU Member States and Council Members appear to have operated as though Article 50 had been formally invoked, our clients say that this behaviour has occasioned various actual breaches of the EU Treaties on our clients and has compromised their acquired rights as EU citizens," it said.
"This situation has also caused the UK Home Office to adopt a position with regard to EU citizens resident in the UK that is entirely contrary to the still apposite and functional European Treaties in advance of formal notice being given by the UK pursuant to Article 50 and the mandated two year exit term."
Mr Maugham said that legal proceedings would begin in Dublin's High Court on or before January 27.
Although the challenge is being organised by Mr Maugham, the actual plaintiffs in the case are expected to be a number of British politicians.
Mr Maugham has raised Sgt£70,000 (€80,000) via crowdfunding to take the case.