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Brexit: Date set for first legal hearing to stop Article 50 being triggered by Prime Minister

Lawyers for Deir Dos Santos say the decision must be taken through Parliament

Will Worley
Sunday 10 July 2016 14:12 BST
Despite the outcome of the EU referendum, many people have voiced their opposition to Brexit
Despite the outcome of the EU referendum, many people have voiced their opposition to Brexit (AP)

The first legal action against Brexit by a private citizen has been timetabled for 19 July on behalf of a hairdresser.

Lawyers representing Deir Dos Santos, a British citizen, have lodged a judicial review challenge. It will argue that triggering Article 50 - formally beginning the process of the UK's withdrawal from the European Union – can only be done with Parliament's approval and not just by the Prime Minister.

The majority of MPs in Parliament voted to remain in the EU and the lawsuit seeks to delay leaving the organisation. It also highlights how the approach of a pro-Brexit Prime Minister, such as Andrea Leadsom, could mean the UK’s exit strategy is markedly different to that of a pro-Remain leader, such as Theresa May.

What is Article 50?

Hairdresser Mr Dos Santos is "just an ordinary guy," his lawyer, Dominic Chambers QC, told Bloomberg. "If his rights are going to be taken away, he wants it done in a proper and lawful manner."

Mr Chambers added: “The purpose of a judicial review is to correct the executive when they have gone wrong. We say the executive will be abusing their powers if they give an Article 50 notification without the approval of Parliament.”

The claim, reported in the Guardian, will argue: “The result of the referendum is not legally binding in the sense that it is advisory only and there is no obligation [on the government] to give effect to the referendum decision.

“However the prime minister has stated on numerous occasions that it is his intention to give effect to the referendum decision and organise the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union.

“The extract from the prime minister’s resignation speech ... makes it clear that [the government] is of the view that the prime minister of the day has the power under article 50 (2) of the Lisbon treaty to trigger article 50 without reference to parliament.”

But exiting the EU can only be done with the permission of the British Parliament, the claim said.

The government has acknowledged receipt of the claim but is highly likely to fight it.

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