back to article Prominent Brit law firm instructed to block Brexit Article 50 trigger

Law firm Mishcon de Reya has been instructed to launch a legal challenge to block Britain from leaving the European Union, in spite of the popular vote to leave the bloc. Solicitors and barristers from Mishcon de Reya are working with Blackstone, Matrix and Monckton Chambers to argue Article 50 of the European Union – the …

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          1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson

            Re: Bollocks

            I can only assume that mr. Slant would say: "That is an interesting grey area" which is legalese for: "That will be expensive". Legalese has many phrases that boil down to that.

          2. veti Silver badge

            Re: Bollocks

            So who decides if the notice is "in accordance with its own constitutional requirements"?

            Basically, the Germans, although everyone else in Europe can put a fair bit of pressure on them (and by the looks of things so far, that pressure will mostly be in favour of Brexit). A British court may provide a figleaf to either side, but it's up to the Europeans whether they want to respect that figleaf. Ripping it off and throwing it in the gutter is a perfectly viable option for them.

            1. Uplink

              Re: Bollocks

              > So who decides if the notice is "in accordance with its own constitutional requirements"?

              Well... I'm thinking that the ECJ would. But if I were a judge* of the ECJ I'd probably look at that article and ask: "What does the UK law / What do the UK courts say?" The ball is then thrown to the UK, where it will probably end up with the Supreme Court - civil track. Then the ECJ will take the ball back and say "The UK Supreme Court says this, so that's that." While that was happening, I would probably issue a stay order on the notification too - which would make Farage pull a Lazarus and come back among us to squeal.

              *Disclaimer: I have no legal training beyond watching "The Good Wife" and other stuff like that :)

  1. nuked

    From another angle...

    It cannot be the case that a referendum which claims to determine the future of x, does not in fact have any actual power to do so; instead relying on a vote elsewhere involving circa 400 people to mirror the public opinion.

    Not a legal argument, but put simply, there would and should be an uprising if this proved to be the position.

    1. John H Woods Silver badge

      Re: From another angle...

      "It cannot be the case that a referendum which claims to determine the future of x, does not in fact have any actual power to do so" -- nuked

      Sorry but that is absolutely the case due to UK Parliamentary Sovereignty, whether you or I think it is right or wrong.

      1. Nick Kew

        Re: From another angle...

        Sorry but that is absolutely the case due to UK Parliamentary Sovereignty, whether you or I think it is right or wrong.

        Isn't parliamentary sovereignty supposed to be the question at issue? Those who say a Prime Minister can act without it are denying that sovereignty.

        Under UK law, only a court can say who's right. Not the PM, nor parliament, nor the people. Indeed (shock, horror) not even Reg commentards.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Megaphone

          Re: From another angle...

          Commentards should have the final say.

          Upvote me for remain, Downvote for exit.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Thumb Down

            Re: From another angle...

            Upvote me for remain, Downvote for exit.

            But that would be a conflict with my natural reaction to the cheek of your post!

        2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: From another angle...

          "Under UK law, only a court can say who's right. Not the PM, nor parliament, nor the people. Indeed (shock, horror) not even Reg commentards."

          Parliament IS the supreme and ultimate court in the land.

          1. KeithR

            Re: From another angle...

            "Parliament IS the supreme and ultimate court in the land."

            Just... NO. Parliament can do NOTHING which is explicitly unlawful, and it's the courts that decide on lawfulness.

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: From another angle...

              "Just... NO. Parliament can do NOTHING which is explicitly unlawful, and it's the courts that decide on lawfulness."

              Of course Parliament can't do anything which is explicitly unlawful. I didn't say that. What I did say is that Parliament is the ultimate court of the land. Some people seem to think the Supreme Court is at the top of the tree, but Parliament can trump the supreme in some circumstances. And it's Parliament which makes the laws in the first place. UK law still currently needs to be compatible with EU law and the decisions of the ECJ, but Parliament can still change things even against the decisions of the supreme court.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: From another angle...

        "Sorry but that is absolutely the case due to UK Parliamentary Sovereignty, whether you or I think it is right or wrong."

        Moreover those MPs were voted into office little more than a year ago by the same electorate - give or take a year's deaths and 18th birthdays.

      3. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: From another angle...

        Parliamentary Sovereignty stems from Cromwell's victory in the civil war. It isn't very different from William taking over "by Right of Conquest". However, times change. I doubt it has been true for a very long time that Parliament, or anyone else, could dominate this country by force. In practice, then, absolute power rests with the people as a whole and Parliament *remains* Sovereign because it suits us to delegate the job.

        On this occasion, however, Parliament punted and gave us the job back. It would be unwise to turn round and tell us that we gave the wrong answer.

    2. John G Imrie

      Re: From another angle...

      The Act of Parliament that led to the referendum explicitly states that the referendum is non binding on Parliament. In effect it was nothing more than an opinion pole.

      1. GrumpyOldMan

        Re: From another angle...

        Hi - Grammar Police here.

        Pole? Don't you mean poll? Different words, different meaning. Er... On the other hand.......

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: From another angle...

          "Hi - Grammar Police here."

          Hi - Vocabulary Police here. You're stepping outside your jurisdiction.

      2. Kane Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: From another angle...

        "In effect it was nothing more than an opinion pole."

        What? Like this one?

        Sorry, couldn't help myself.

      3. AndrueC Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: From another angle...

        In effect it was nothing more than an opinion pole.

        Some would say we already have too many Poles in this country.

      4. Spudley

        Re: From another angle...

        > In effect it was nothing more than an opinion pole.

        Spelling correction: You meant "opinion poll".

        Your alternative spelling is ironic because Poles weren't able to give their opinion.

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: From another angle...

        "In effect it was nothing more than an opinion pole."

        I doubt it reflected the opinion of many Poles.

        Binding or non binding under law, we voted out, so that's what must happen.

      6. Stoneshop Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: From another angle...

        nothing more than an opinion pole

        How about an opinion spaniard, or an opinion greek, dutchman or estonian (as opposed to etonian, we've seen their opinions)?

        1. cortland

          Re: From another angle...

          Now, don't go throwing a spaniard in the works.

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: From another angle...

            "Now, don't go throwing a spaniard in the works."

            Otherwise you might need to Greece them.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: From another angle...

      It was an advisory referendum - of itself it confers no power nor to do anything.

      We put military involvements in other countries to the vote, or at least debate, in parliament before sending the (more?) aircraft in. Why wouldn't you do same with something that represents a major shift in geopolitical alignment?

      The PM that pushes the Article 50 button and doesn't come out of the negotiations with a good position will find themselves marked down by history. And anyone who aims to be PM and says that they don't want to be fondly mentioned in the history books is either lying or so egotistically cocksure of their divine right as to be dangerous.

      1. Warm Braw Silver badge

        Re: Marked down by history

        The referendum also says nothing about timescale.

        Even assuming that parliament does nothing else (except perhaps pass the occasional budget) it would take at least 5 years to disentangle all the EU legislation - perhaps closer to 10 if we expect the government to have some vestige of a domestic legislative programme as well. It hardly seems advisable for us to press the Article 50 button before we've got the legislation in place and some idea of the shape of the likely EU deal. Given that the EU won't talk to us (allegedly) until we invoke Article 50 and we won't invoke it until it's in our best interests, we could still be debating this in a generation's time.

        Several prime ministers may have come and gone by that time and been entirely forgotten by history.

        1. bed

          Re: Marked down by history

          This is perhaps a key, much overlooked point. In over forty years’ worth of legislation there must be much which contains within some phraseology along the lines of, “in accordance with European Directive blah blah blah” and finding, cancelling, untangling, rewriting, tabling, amending and then passing reworded legislation is not something a couple of civil servants are going to do one quiet afternoon. But then the Brexit crowd had this all thought it beforehand, hadn’t they? Or perhaps that may explain why most of them have subsequently buggered off.

      2. captain veg

        Re: From another angle...

        Not only did the enabling legislation specifically state that the referendum was advisory, the wording of the question makes it pretty clear.

        Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union

        Should. Not shall or must.

        It's like the Ask the Audience lifeline in Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. Their opinion informs the decision, it does not dictate it.

        -A.

      3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: From another angle...

        "so egotistically cocksure of their divine right as to be dangerous."

        The number who meet that criterion are a bit of a worry.

    4. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: From another angle...

      It can be in two countries in the world which have no written constitution:

      1. United Kingdom

      2. Saudi Arabia

      In these counties, anything and everything as far as the rule of the game can be changed mid-game by the "house". The sole difference is that in the first case it is changed by the MPs, while in the second the ruling member of the Saud dynasty. They can however change and rig the dice any way they like and plebs like you and me should just shut the f*** up.

      Further to this, by default a referendum as a concept in the UK has no legal power whatsoever, unless legal power has been specifically delegated to it by the act which sets up the referendum. Surprise, surprise, the act setting up the "Referendum of Infamy" did not do that.

      1. Dr. Mouse

        Re: From another angle...

        "It can be in two countries in the world which have no written constitution"

        AFIAK the UK having no written constitution is a bit of a misnomer.

        We do have a written constitution. However, it is not in a document labeled "The Constitution", it is scattered through dozens of different statutes throughout history, with several pieces coming from judgments in common law, too.

    5. Wolfclaw

      Re: From another angle...

      Never mind an uprising, just shoot all the lawyers and politicians, reboot Democracy v2.0

    6. organiser

      Re: From another angle...

      A referendum is a consulting exercise. It is there to provide some input to Parliament for Parliament's sovereign decision making.

  2. JeffyPoooh
    Pint

    "No, No, No. Let me resign..."

    Nigel Farage resigns.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-36702468

    1. John G Imrie

      Re: "No, No, No. Let me resign..."

      Again?

      He's going to have more comebacks than Mandelson.

    2. Stoneshop Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: "No, No, No. Let me resign..."

      Brave Sir Nigel ran away! When reality reared its ugly head, Sir Nigel turned his tail and fled, brave brave brave Sir Nigel.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "No, No, No. Let me resign..."

        I'm really disappointed. I thought he would have become a co-prime minister, sharing the post with Teresa May, Boris Johnson and the Gove fellow. It would have been a marriage made in heaven.

        p.s. if I were David Cameron, I would resign immediately, again. Just in case.

        1. TheVogon

          Re: "No, No, No. Let me resign..."

          "Brave Sir Nigel ran away!"

          Or he is freeing himself up for the task of joining the Brexit negotiation team.

      2. Ucalegon

        Re: "No, No, No. Let me resign..."

        Just seeing, "Sir Nigel", one wondered if he will make the Queen's list this Christmas....

    3. Baldy50

      Re: "No, No, No. Let me resign..."

      Well he kept to his word that if a vote to leave was won he would sack himself, so maybe regardless of your personal opinions of him a lot more honest than the rest.

      1. Stoneshop Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: "No, No, No. Let me resign..."

        When did he promise that? And even if it shows he has kept that promise, how about his promise to resign as UKIP leader if the 2015 election results didn't show a significant breakthrough for them (which they didn't).

        Never mind that pro-Brexit ended up being a pile of half-truths, numbers-finagling and plain impossible items, going into the Euro Parliament with an exit speech consisting of lies and insults ("none of you have ever had a proper job") doesn't make his promises any more valuable.

        Not that I'm directly affected by Brexit; if I was I'd be seriously miffed by all this. And not just Farage and Johnson for running away from what I consider their responsibility, also the major clusterfuck that the referendum was: lack of clearly defined procedures (if it's advisory, don't act as if it's binding; how and when to invoke A50, and by whom; some kind of contingency planning for both outcomes, etcetera)

        1. ToddR

          A50

          Is that A50 that links the M1 and M6?

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: "No, No, No. Let me resign..."

          "how about his promise to resign as UKIP leader if the 2015 election results didn't show a significant breakthrough for them "

          AFAICR he did. Then he unresigned.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: "No, No, No. Let me resign..."

        "his word that if a vote to leave was won he would sack himself"

        Does that count as bribing the electorate?

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "No, No, No. Let me resign..."

        Oh, has he resigned as a MEP too? No, he's going to see out his term as a paid MEP still? whats this about sacking himself?

        Sounds like he's given up the charity side of things though.

      4. KeithR

        Re: "No, No, No. Let me resign..."

        "Well he kept to his word"

        That's a first, isn't it?

    4. codejunky Silver badge

      Re: "No, No, No. Let me resign..."

      "Nigel Farage resigns."

      Truly a loss to the public. He was a good representative for the majority of the country who wanted out and he did all he set out to achieve. Considering the uselessness of the current lot and the confusion of how to proceed I would have liked him to be at the front of the negotiations.

      However hats off to him, he has done well and regardless of our liking or hating him he has delivered the referendum promised for over a decade. Unlike most politicians he can exit on a good note instead of turfed out.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge
        Flame

        Re: "No, No, No. Let me resign..."

        He has no more idea than Boris or Gove. Between those three, there should have been at least one exit plan. And Cameron should have had a contingency plan given that he called the referendum.

        Is this the best education that public schooling can give us? Ye gods, the country's up shit creek.

        1. codejunky Silver badge

          Re: "No, No, No. Let me resign..."

          @ Dan 55

          "Between those three, there should have been at least one exit plan"

          The tories are in power and Cameron is in charge so UKIP having an exit plan (fairly sure they do) is irrelevant especially as Nigel has been excluded from the leave talks. Since Cameron was going to remain in charge Cameron should have had a backup plan, but his plans ended at shouting the end of the world, and unless he vanished nobody else would get a look in. Can you imagine any tory crowing about an exit plan, Osborne and Cameron would do anything to scupper it.

          The good news is we just need them to execute the will of the people (exit the EU!) and come the next GE we have reason to actually vote for someone competent. Looks like labour are trying to shake up their ranks and maybe the tories will too. And whoever we vote will be able to actually run the country and be accountable.

          1. Stoneshop Silver badge
            Windows

            Re: "No, No, No. Let me resign..."

            The tories are in power and Cameron is in charge so UKIP having an exit plan (fairly sure they do) is irrelevant especially as Nigel has been excluded from the leave talks. [...] Can you imagine any tory crowing about an exit plan, Osborne and Cameron would do anything to scupper it.

            There's nothing to stop you from preparing an exit plan even if you expect not needing to use it, and equally, not being able to crow about it doesn't excuse you from preparing one. On the contrary, having one and presenting it once it's become necessary shows you as being prudently prepared (at least if the plan is halfway realistic, anyway). This holds for Farage too; even if he was excluded from the official campaign, there's nothing barring him from having a plan ready for the event of Brexit. Stating clearly and unequivocally beforehand that he won't be making one, instead considering a win to be all he wants and that's it would be fine too.

            For quite a few of those involved, it has shown them for what they are.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "No, No, No. Let me resign..."

            > Looks like labour are trying to shake up their ranks

            Or "self destruct" is another way of looking at it.

            It seems they can't come to terms with having a socialist as a leader.

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