Law firm seeks Parliament debate and vote on Brexit

British law firm Mishcon de Reya says it is taking action to ensure the formal process for the UK leaving the European Union is not started without an act of Parliament.

Mishcon deReya law firm LogoMishcon de Reya, which said it is acting for a group of business people and academics, pointed out it would be unlawful for a prime minister to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon treaty without a full debate and vote in Parliament.

The legal action comes after the UK voted to leave the EU in the 23 June referendum and amid legal discussions on whether the Brexit vote is binding at all for current and future government in Britain. Prime Minister David Cameron stepped down after the vote but will stay on till a successive is chosen by the ruling Conservative Party.

Mishcon de Reya headlined a statement dated 3 July 2016 but released 4 July, “Article 50 [of the Lisbon treaty] process on Brexit faces legal challenge to ensure parliamentary involvement”

It went on, “Legal steps have been taken to ensure the UK Government will not trigger the procedure for withdrawal from the EU without an Act of Parliament. The case is being brought by leading law firm, Mishcon de Reya, on behalf of a group of clients. Following publication of articles on the subject this week Mishcon de Reya has retained Baron David Pannick QC and Tom Hickman to act as counsel in this action, along with Rhodri Thompson QC and Anneli Howard.

“The Referendum held on 23 June was an exercise to obtain the views of UK citizens, the majority of whom expressed a desire to leave the EU. But the decision to trigger Article 50 of the Treaty of European Union, the legal process for withdrawal from the EU, rests with the representatives of the people under the UK Constitution.

“The Government however, has suggested that it has sufficient legal authority. Mishcon de Reya has been in correspondence with the Government lawyers since 27 June 2016 on behalf of its clients to seek assurances that the Government will uphold the UK constitution and protect the sovereignty of Parliament in invoking Article 50.

“If the correct constitutional process of parliamentary scrutiny and approval is not followed then the notice to withdraw from the EU would be unlawful, negatively impacting the withdrawal negotiations and our future political and economic relationships with the EU and its 27 Member States, and open to legal challenge. This legal action seeks to ensure that the Article 50 notification process is lawful.”

Kasra Nouroozi, Partner, Mishcon de Reya said,  “We must ensure that the Government follows the correct process to have legal certainty and protect the UK Constitution and the sovereignty of Parliament in these unprecedented circumstances. The result of the Referendum is not in doubt, but we need a process that follows UK law to enact it. The outcome of the Referendum itself is not legally binding and for the current or future Prime Minister to invoke Article 50 without the approval of Parliament is unlawful.

“We must make sure this is done properly for the benefit of all UK citizens. Article 50 simply cannot be invoked without a full debate and vote in Parliament. Everyone in Britain needs the Government to apply the correct constitutional process and allow Parliament to fulfil its democratic duty which is to take into account the results of the Referendum along with other factors and make the ultimate decision.”

Anyone wishing to support the action to ensure that the UK Constitution is upheld in this process should email Article50@mishcon.com, the law firm said.

Mishcon de Reya was founded by Victor Mishcon in 1937 and currently has offices in London and New York, employs more than 700 people, and says it has more than 300 lawyers offering a wide range of legal services to companies and individuals.

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