Update – 29/05/17
Mr Maugham has now withdrawn the #brexit reversibility case: “With regret, we have agreed between us and with Ireland that the litigation should be discontinued,” he said in a statement. “The advice we have received only this week from the senior member of our counsel team is that we would be very unlikely to obtain a reference to the Court of Justice from the High Court.”
Maugham said it was right to bring the case, which had been due to be heard on Wednesday. “We knew there was no guarantee of success but we were right to try,” he said. “It’s now up to all of us to take our love of our country and our optimism that there is a way forward and channel it to protect, brexit or no brexit, the values we care about.”
“Each of the European Council, Commission and Parliament has said the United Kingdom could withdraw the Article 50 notice (of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty) with agreement. There is no doubt this is so,” Maugham said.
“Discontinuing leaves open the possibility that the United Kingdom could withdraw the Article 50 notice unilaterally. This may be possible – legal opinions on the question differ – but discontinuing means we cannot know by this route whether it can.”
Any money left over after fees and legal costs is to be given to other brexit-related litigation or to charity. More info
Original story – 25/04/17
Reuters is reporting Ireland’s High Court will consider a crowd-funded legal challenge to determine whether or not the triggering of #brexit is reversible on May 31. The case has been brought by British tax specialist and lawyer Jolyon Maugham QC, who says he expects a decision by June or July.
The hearing is set for May 31, when it will be decided whether or not the case can be accepted. It could then end up at the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg, as a matter of European law. Campaigners are hoping it will be referred there for a definitive ruling.
“If we change our minds we must be able to withdraw the notice without needing the consent of the other 27 member states,” Mr Maugham previously said in a statement.
UK government lawyers say #brexit cannot be stopped, but according to the European Parliament and some EU leaders it can be reversed with the consent of the remaining EU members. This case could give a definitive answer.
Ireland was chosen as the case had to be brought in the EU but outside the UK. However, during Monday’s preliminary hearing it was argued there may be jurisdictional issues, including whether British citizens are entitled to launch such proceedings in Ireland.
If his case is thrown out, Maugham said he could file an appeal in Dublin, take it to a different EU member state or hope another member state seeks a referral to the ECJ on its own.
According to Reuters, he conceded the reality is “the clock is ticking on a not especially long fuse”.
“It would be a bloody tragedy for democracy and the United Kingdom if the people came to want to remain in the UK before the two-year clock had expired and they were unable to do so,” he told reporters after the hearing.
“This case is about giving the people another referendum if they want one,” he said. “The appropriate time to ask the question ‘do they want one?’ is October of next year. If we get a reference in June, we will have an answer well before then.”