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[ 2016-11-16 ]

Brexit vote not legally binding
The EU referendum was not legally binding, a
Supreme Court judge hearing the government’s
appeal against the Brexit legal challenge has said
ahead of the December court case.

Lady Brenda Hale made the comments in a speech to
lawyers in Kuala Lumpur during which she reflected
on the upcoming case. All parties in the
litigation accept the referendum is not legally

Following the referendum result, a government
promise made six years prior resurfaced that any
referendum "cannot be legally binding", but rather
is advisory.

Lady Hale is one of 11 justices in the Supreme
Court to hear the legal challenge to Brexit in
December. All of the justices are due to hear the
case due to the importance of the hearing for
constitutional law, as well as wider power
dynamics between the executive and legislature.

The case considers whether the High Court was
right to rule the Government must get
parliamentary approval before triggering Article

Last month the High Court ruled against the
Government and backed anti-Brexit campaigners in
pronouncing parliament must be consulted before
Article 50 can be triggered. It is expected that
such a requirement could delay Brexit, or result
in it appearing in a softer approach compared to
‘Hard Brexit’ plans.

The case was taken by investment managed Gina
Miller, as well as a crowd-funded coalition of
'concerned citizens' known as the Peoples'

Speaking ahead of the appeal hearing, which begins
5 December, Lady Hale told an audience of lawyers
at a Kuala Lumpur lecture on constitutional law
that the upcoming appeal is one of “fundamental
constitutional importance”.

She said: “As is well known, the referendum on
whether the United Kingdom should leave or remain
in the European Union produced a majority of 51.8
per cent in favour of leaving. But that referendum
was not legally binding on Parliament.”

Referring to the Government’s previous defence
that Theresa May as the executive wing of the
government has power to trigger Article 50 without
parliamentary or judicial interference, Lady Hale
said: “Perhaps significantly, the Government has
given up the argument that the issue is not
justiciable in our courts.”

The appeal case begins on 5 December and is
expected to run until 8 December. A judgment is
expected by the end of December.

Source - The Independent

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