Brexit challenge

The Lord Chief Justice will preside over the legal challenge to the Brexit process in October, the High Court has ruled.

President of the Queen’s Bench Division, Sir Brian Leveson, said the case raises matters of constitutional and national importance.

He said that any appeal from the court’s decision would go to the Supreme Court.

Those representing the government told the court that the Prime Minister, Theresa May, had made it clear that Art 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, the formal procedure for withdraw from the EU, would not be triggered before the end of the year.

The applicants assert that it would be unlawful for Art 50 to be invoked without parliamentary approval. The government, however, is expected to argue that it can be done by the Prime Minister under prerogative powers.

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Business as usual?

Sophie Nappert analyses how international arbitration in London will fare post-Brexit

Unless and until the UK formally leaves the EU, the Brexit vote – which has political and historical significance, but is not legally binding on government (the European Union Referendum Act 2015 is silent on the issue) – will have little impact on London’s status as a centre for international arbitration.

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A View from Brussels

No single market ‘à la carte’ – Evanna Fruithof reports the mood in Brussels in the aftermath of the Brexit vote

A visiting professor of EU law I know (non-UK) used to enjoy asking his students to list the six UK opt-outs from the EU. 

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New beginnings

The Bar Council is preparing for what the future might look like outside the European Union, under a new Prime Minister and a new Lord Chancellor, writes the Chairman

Usually at this time of year, with the court recess and holidays around the corner, there is little news. 

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Brexit: The Article 50 ‘trigger’


Nick Barber, Tom Hickman and Jeff King argue that Parliament has an indispensable role in triggering withdrawal from the European Union

As a matter of domestic constitutional law, we argue that the Prime Minister is unable to issue a declaration under Art 50 of the Lisbon Treaty – triggering withdrawal from the European Union – without having been authorised to do so by a statute. 

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Legal challenges to follow EU Brexit vote

Lawyers have been gearing themselves up in the wake of the EU referendum to ensure any eventual UK withdrawal is achieved lawfully.

A group of unnamed businesses and individuals have instructed London law firm Mishcon de Reya to ensure the UK government does not invoke Art 50 of the Treaty of European Union, the procedure for withdrawal from the EU, without an Act of Parliament.

The firm has instructed public law specialists Lord Pannick QC and Tom Hickman of Blackstone Chambers, along with EU law experts Rhodri Thompson QC of Matrix Chambers and Anneli Howard of Monckton Chambers.

Expert opinion is divided over whether parliament’s approval is needed or whether the deed can be done by the Prime Minister under prerogative powers.

The High Court has already been asked by a UK citizen, Deir Dos Santos, to grant permission for a judicial review seeking a declaration that only parliament can authorise EU withdrawal. Dos Santos has instructed Dominic Chambers QC of Maitland Chambers.

In addition, tax barrister Jolyon Maughan QC has crowdfunded more than £10,000 to instruct a legal team to seek clarification on whether the government intends to trigger Art 50 without a parliamentary vote, and around 1,000 barristers and judges have signed a letter calling for a free vote in the House of Commons on whether Art 50 should be set in motion.

Meanwhile, the Bar Council has said it is ‘ready to assist in achieving an orderly restructuring of the UK’s relationship with the EU’ and will continue to work closely with partners in European Bar Associations. A working group, chaired by Hugh Mercer QC, will explore the implications for the Bar. Chairman, Chantal-Aimée Doerries QC, said: ‘Despite all the turbulence, I am confident that London will remain a leading centre for international dispute resolution.’

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Hostile environment

As the nation grapples with the impact of Brexit on migration, Ronan Toal briefs readers on the major revisions already introduced by the Immigration Act 2016

Back in 2002 Theresa May, then chair of the Conservative Party, highlighted in her conference speech the importance of shedding the ‘nasty party’ image. 

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Brexit: A new relationship

Evanna Fruithof, Alexandria Carr and Gordon Nardell QC set out possible models for the UK’s relationship with the EU post-Brexit

Following the vote to leave on 23 June, the EU awaits formal notification by Her Majesty’s government of the UK’s intention to withdraw from the world’s largest trading bloc, a notification required by the terms of Art 50 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU). 

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Brexit: Bar voices commitment to support UK restructure

Representatives of the Bar have voiced their commitment to support the UK as it restructures its relationship with the EU following the Brexit vote and have declared their faith in London as a leading centre for international dispute resolution.

52% of UK voters chose to leave the EU in the referendum. Prime Minister David Cameron resigned following the “Leave” vote.

The Chairman of the Bar, Chantal-Aimée Doerries QC, says: “The Bar of England and Wales is ready to assist in an achieving an orderly restructuring of the UK’s relationship with the EU in the coming months and beyond. The long-term effect of Brexit on the legal services sector’s contribution to the UK economy will depend significantly on the nature and terms of the post-Brexit relationship with the EU. Despite all the turbulence, however, I am confident that London will remain a leading centre for international dispute resolution. The reputation of barristers and our judiciary overseas, beyond the EU, is very high and I expect it will remain so in the years to come. We shall continue to work closely with our partners in European Bar Associations. ”

The Chairman of the Young Barristers’ Committee, Louisa Nye, says: “I am currently attending the European Young Bar Association’s AGM in Dusseldorf, and this reflects the Young Bar’s commitment to maintaining a good working relationship with the European market. The Young Bar is committed to engaging with other European lawyers regarding the changes that will be taking place. The Young Barristers’ Committee is confident that the quality of advocacy and legal service provision in the jurisdiction will not be undermined by today’s results, and London will remain a leading centre for international dispute resolution.”

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EU REFERENDUM SPECIAL: A relationship study

Evanna Fruithof sets the context to the referendum debate with a retrospective and prospective analysis of the UK-EU relationship

In January 1973, with the entry into force of the European Communities Act 1972, the UK became a member of the European Economic Community (EEC), which has evolved into the European Union (EU). 

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