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R v Miller - the constitutional law case of the century

Written by Samuel O'Toole on 03 November 2016

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The case asked if the Government has the power, by way of its prerogative power, to trigger Article 50 to give notice for the United Kingdom to withdraw from the European Union.

The Judgment by Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, Master of the Rolls Sir Terence Etherton and Lord Justice Sales has been handed down.

The Government’s claim has not been accepted.  It was held that the Government does not have the power under the Crowns prerogative to give notice pursuant to Article 50 for the UK to withdraw from the European Union.

The Judgment said: “The court does not accept the argument put forward by the government. There is nothing in the text of the 1972 Act [to join the EU] to support it."

Theresa May, Secretary of State, will not be making use of Article 50 anytime soon. However, the Government has won the right to appeal to the Supreme Court. Failing this the Judges could refer the matter to the European Union’s Court of Justice in Luxembourg to seek clarification something that neither party wishes.

Labour MP, Graham Allan, said the Supreme Court now faces “its first historic test” in hearing the Government’s appeal against the ruling.

Former Liberal Democrat leader Lord (Menzies) Campbell of Pittenweem said the ruling was a “slap in the face” for Ms May.

The full Judgement is available at https://www.judiciary.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/judgment-r-miller-v-secretary-of-state-for-exiting-the-eu-20161103.pdf  

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