November 2016 - Who has the power to decide the Brexit?
A claim has been raised before the London High Court of Justice by two individuals and a group of UK and EU citizens, against the UK Secretary of State for exiting the European Union.
According to the claim, the UK government does not have the power to decide that the UK should withdraw from the EU without the Parliament’s statutory authority to do so.
On November 3rd, 2016, the London High Court followed the arguments of the claim and ruled that the Parliament must indeed give its consent to trigger Article 50.
The UK government has filed an appeal to the British Supreme Court.
It is expected that the hearing will be held beginning on the 5th December 2016 and a decision could be issued before mid January 2017.
Some voices however mention the possibility for the British Supreme Court to refer the controversy to the European Court of Justice (ECJ). This would of course delay the final decision.
On 18th of November, the Supreme Court ruled that the Scottish and Welsh governments may intervene in the case, giving them the right to present their own position. This unexpected move may complicate the position of the Prime Minister, Mrs Teresa May, who favours a quick decision and expects to trigger Article 50 by the end of March 2017.
Already expecting a decision of the Supreme Court in favour of a preliminary consent of the Parliament, Mrs Teresa May has said that a short three-line Bill would be presented to the Parliament to try obtaining quickly the consent of the Parliament.
However, it is not certain that such a short Act of the Parliament will be sufficient for starting the Brexit process. Some voices consider it will be necessary to draft that a "comprehensive replacement" of the Act by which the United Kingdom adhered to the European Union in 1972.