Remain Campaigners Bypass UK Courts in Fresh Attempt to Frustrate Brexit

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Pro-EU lawyers are preparing to launch the latest legal assault on Brexit in an attempt to get judges to rule on whether Article 50 can be cancelled.

The campaigners are bypassing British courts and instead launching proceedings in Ireland, where they hope judges will be more likely to refer their case to the European Court of Justice.

Led by Jolyon Maugham QC, they want to see if Britain could change its mind and stop the process of leaving the European Union after it has triggered Article 50 to formally begin the exit process.

The Lisbon Treaty says that after a member state has formally requested to leave the bloc, both sides have two years to negotiate a new relationship before the country ceases to be member.

Although the treaty makes no provision for the exit process being halted halfway through, Remain supporters hope EU judges will that it is technically possible.

If they win, the government may find its hands tied as pro-Remain MPs could have the power to halt Brexit, especially if they decide to reject any deal between the British government and EU leaders.

According to the Mail, Mr Maugham says he wants British voters have a chance to “change their minds”, adding: “If we cannot withdraw our Article 50 notification then Parliament will have to accept those agreements – whatever their content.

“The Government will have free reign to do exactly what it wants. There will be no control by Parliament.

“But if the notification can be withdrawn Parliament will have a choice: it will be free to reject that deal.

“And, because the Government knows this, and because it wishes to deliver the result of the Referendum, it will have to try to do the deal that Parliament wants or it will risk the possibility that Parliament throws the deal out.”

Campaigners are hoping to “crowdfund” £70,000 to pay for the action. If the case is referred to the European Court of Justice, it is likely it would fast-track proceedings due to the urgency.

The challenge comes as the Supreme Court retires to decide whether the government must consult parliament before triggering Article 50.

Prime Minister Theresa May has promised to begin the formal process of leaving the EU by the end of March next year, and MPs voted to back that timetable this week, but Europhile campaigners have taken the government to court to demand it consult parliament.