IN A BRIEF HEARING IN THE HIGH COURT ON FRIDAY, THE JUDGES REJECTED AN APPLICATION WHICH HAD BEEN FILED BY A PRO-SINGLE MARKET PRESSURE ORGANIZATION, BRITISH INFLUENCE.
The application was aimed at obtaining a judicial review of the Brexit process, claiming that a parliamentary vote was necessary on the UK leaving the European Economic Area (“EEA”), separate from that on the triggering of article 50 of the EU Treaty. The bill for the triggering of article 50 was approved in the House of Commons this week by a vote of 498 against 114 and is now passing to the House of Lords.
The legal challenge rejected by the High Court was based on the fact that article 127 of the EEA Treaty requires contracting parties to give no less than twelve months’ notice of its intention to leave the EEA. The applicants claimed that this implies that separate parliamentary approval is needed and the vote on the bill currently before Parliament to trigger article 50 cannot also cover the leaving of the EEA, as argued by the UK government.
The High Court judges indicated that the decision was influenced by the fact that the Government has so far made no announcement as to which route it will take with regard to leaving the EEA, so “In our judgment these present claims are premature. The relevant situations against which the claims might be assessed have not yet occurred.” The claimants stated that this meant they might bring the challenge again in the future since the words of the judges “left the door firmly ajar for future proceedings should the government not resolve this issue”, which they consider has not been addressed.