Parliament must give its consent before Brexit process begins, Britain’s Supreme Court rules

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International Law


Brexit flags.

Britain’s Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that Parliament must give its consent before Britain begins the process of leaving the European Union.

The court said proceeding without an act of Parliament would breach constitutional principles, the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.) reports. The court noted that Parliament had approved legislation allowing Britain to join the European Union, according to a New York Times account of the decision. The Washington Post also has a story.

The decision affirms a ruling by Britain’s High Court of Justice that found Prime Minister Theresa May needed lawmakers’ approval before beginning the exit process under Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union. May plans to begin negotiations for the exit before the end of March.

Despite the additional hurdle, most observers expect Parliament won’t stop the Brexit process and may even allow it to proceed on the prime minister’s timetable.

The supreme court, however, said there was no need to get the approval of governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. According to the Times, that aspect of the ruling could have a greater impact than the requirement for Parliament’s approval because it highlighted tensions among the “unequal union of four nations.”

About 52 percent of British voters favored leaving the European Union in a June referendum.

Related articles:

ABAJournal.com: “No Brexit without Parliament OK, UK’s High Court rules”

ABA Journal: “Uncertainty about Brexit gives UK lawyers a boost”





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