What is happening in the High and Supreme Court?

5 December 2016

The case on who has the power to trigger Article 50 (the process for leaving the European Union) is the most important constitutional case of a generation. It relates to whether this power pertains to the executive (ie the The Prime Minister) or Parliament. It was heard by a panel of three distinguished judges in the High Court which decided on 3 November 2016 that, given the loss of rights for individuals which will be the result of the Article 50 process, Parliament should decide whether to trigger Article 50, not the executive. The government is appealing this decision, arguing that Article 50 is about withdrawing from an international agreement and this is just what ‘prerogative’ (executive) powers are for. The case will be heard by the Supreme Court , starting on 5 December 2016.

Judgment is likely to be handed down early in the new year. Uniquely, all eleven judges of the Supreme Court will hear the case (read the biographies click here) to avoid any accusation that the justices have been selected due to their pro or anti European views. Wales and Scotland’s senior law officers will be allowed to take part in the case.

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