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Supreme Court Judgment on the Article 50 case

Now over to Parliament to fulfill its constitutional duty

Comment by Lawyers for Britain

The Supreme Court has now handed down its judgment in the Article 50 case, dismissing the government’s appeal by a majority of 8 to 3. Naturally we are disappointed by this result, but we are heartened by the fact that the dissenting Justices (Lords Reed, Carnwath and Hughes) relied in their judgments on the key arguments advanced by Lawyers for Britain in our intervention.

On the plus side, the Supreme Court has unanimously rejected the arguments from Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales that the devolved legislatures have a legal right to interfere with the UK’s exit from the EU, or that withdrawal is somehow incompatible with the constitutional status of Northern Ireland.

In the light of the majority judgment, it is now over to Parliament to enact a very short Bill authorising notice under Article 50. The majority judgment has made clear that the form of this legislation “is entirely a matter for Parliament”, removing concerns that the Court might insist on the enactment of complex legislation before Article 50 can be triggered.

Whatever the referendum’s strict legal status, as a matter of constitutional practice it was clearly not just “advisory”.  Parliament by an overwhelming majority chose to place the decision on our EU membership into the hands of the British people, who were promised in clear and unambiguous terms that whatever they decided would be implemented. Parliament now has a duty to keep its promise and implement that decision without delay or equivocation.

We are reviewing the 97 pages of majority and dissenting judgments handed down by the Supreme Court and will comment in more detail once we have completed that process.

Click here for further information about Lawyers for Britain's intervention in the Supreme Court.