Government “need to tread carefully” following Article 50 ruling

The Supreme Court yesterday (24/01/17) ruled that Parliamentary support was required in order for article 50 to be triggered, rejecting the appeal from the government.

Whilst the judgement stated that an authorising act of Parliament would be needed prior to EU departure negotiations, the exact nature of the bill is as yet unclear. This has led to speculation.


Providing comment on the landmark decision was Alexander Pelopidas. The Partner at Rosling King LLP Solicitors highlighted the reasoning behind the judgement as well as considering the nature of the future bill.

“In a landmark ruling the Supreme Court, by a majority of 8 to 3, held that an Act of Parliament is necessary before the government can invoke Article 50 and begin the process of exiting the EU. In reaching its decision, the Supreme Court held that as removal from the EU will remove some existing rights of UK residents, Parliamentary authority is required. The Supreme Court noted that the referendum was only advisory and that the Act allowing for the referendum failed to specify what the consequences of the referendum would be.

The decision is a blow to the government and means that it must now propose a bill, for the approval of Parliament, which will allow the government to invoke Article 50. The government will need to tread carefully in respect of the bill that they propose to Parliament which opens the door potentially for politicking. Whilst a one-line bill could, legally, give the government the authority it needs, it could be open to further legal challenge on the basis that it does not provide enough detail. Conversely, a more detailed bill could open the door for MPs to propose various amendments to the bill which could delay its approval and ultimately delay the Prime Minister’s current timetable for Brexit.”


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