The first legal action against Brexit is to be heard later this month – an attempt to block the next prime minister triggering Article 50, which has been brought on behalf of a hairdresser.
A high court judge, Mr. Justice Cranston, has set the 19th of July for a preliminary hearing of the judicial review challenge brought on behalf of British citizen Deir Dos Santos.
The case will attempt to put an injunction on the new Prime Minister, stopping her using the royal prerogative to invoke the two-year mechanism (Article 50) which would get the UK out of the EU.
An act of Parliament is required to trigger Article 50, it is argued, and the public vote was merely “advisory” and can be ignored. MPs voted overwhelmingly against Brexit, and the bill is far from certain to pass.
The Jack of Kent legal blog explains why an injunction, specifically, is sought by anti-Brexit campaign so urgently:
“The reason why the injunctions are required is that once the notification is received by the EU Council, the horse, the genii, and the cat are all out of their respective receptacles, and it passes from being a domestic matter and becomes an EU matter. When the notification is received by the Council then there would be little that a domestic court can do.”
Hairdresser Mr. Dos Santos is “just an ordinary guy,” his lawyer, Dominic Chambers QC, told Bloomberg. “If his rights are going to be taken away, he wants it done in a proper and lawful manner.”
Mr Chambers added: “The purpose of a judicial review is to correct the executive when they have gone wrong. We say the executive will be abusing their powers if they give an Article 50 notification without the approval of Parliament.”
The claim, reported in the Guardian, will argue: “The result of the referendum is not legally binding in the sense that it is advisory only and there is no obligation [on the government] to give effect to the referendum decision.
“However the prime minister has stated on numerous occasions that it is his intention to give effect to the referendum decision and organise the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union.
“The extract from the prime minister’s resignation speech… makes it clear that [the government] is of the view that the prime minister of the day has the power under article 50 (2) of the Lisbon treaty to trigger article 50 without reference to parliament.”