The UK Supreme Court confirmed on Nov. 18 that Scotland and Wales may intervene in an upcoming hearing that will determine whether Prime Minister Theresa May has the power to take the UK out of the EU without a parliamentary vote. Earlier this month the High Court ruled that Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which allows for the UK’s exit from the EU, can only be triggered by a vote of the British Parliament. The UK government immediately appealed the decision to the Supreme Court, with Scotland and Wales demanding intervention soon after. While the two countries had their lawyers attend the previous hearing, they will now be allowed to argue how triggering Article 50 without their parliaments’ consent will infringe upon their governments’ rights and powers. The UK government continues to argue that it has exclusive control over foreign affairs and legal treaties. The three parties will argue their stances at the hearing scheduled for early December.
After a majority of the British voters voted to leave the EU in June 2016, a host of legal issues have arisen regarding the legal significance of the referendum. The referendum is not legally binding, but then-prime minister David Cameron had pledged to carry out the result of the referendum. Further complicating matters is the fact that both Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to stay in the EU and have announced intentions to possibly leave the UK. Last month the High Court of Justice in Northern Ireland dismissed a challenge to the “Brexit” referendum alleging that it was not binding on Northern Ireland.
From Jurist, Nov. 19. Used with permission.