Law students will be familiar with the recent High Court ruling, which has halted further progress in Brexit discussions by affirming Parliament’s right to legislate on the invocation of Article 50. Despite the subsequent media backlash, it is important to recognise that the court’s mechanism of judicial review has served to protect our democracy, rather than betray, undermine or derail it.
With the ruling, it has been confirmed that the Prime Minister is not entitled to define the shape, timing and manner of our departure from the EU without accountability to Parliament. The court’s ruling was, therefore, an entirely apolitical judgement issued by a wholly independent judiciary.
Law applicants may want to familiarise themselves with the precise legal reasoning underpinning the court’s ruling. According to UK constitutional law, the Royal Prerogative, whilst affording the government the power to enter into treaties, does not permit the altering of domestic law (in this case, the effecting of a withdrawal from the Communities Treaties via a repeal of the ECA 1972).
However, this ruling is still subject to appeal by the Supreme Court, the UK’s highest legal authority.