A government lawyer has told the High Court in London that Britain will not invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty this year.
Lawyer Jason Coppel QC referred to statements made by Prime Minister Theresa May who has said the legislation should not be triggered this year.
However, he indicated that the Government's current position could change.
It follows Prime Minister Theresa May's announcement last week that Britain will not start the process of leaving the European Union until Scotland’s position in negotiations is clear.
Ms May said after a meeting with Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon she would not formally start the process of leaving the bloc until there was a coherent “UK approach” to negotiations.
“Scotland’s very important to me. When I stood on the steps of Downing Street on Wednesday I made clear that I believe in the United Kingdom,” Ms May said.
Ros Kellaway, head of Eversheds' EU Competition and Regulatory Group, said in a statement: "Although the situation is clearly fluid, this formal indication that the government is in no great rush to invoke Article 50 is welcome news for businesses.
"As things stand, we still don't have clarity on what Britain can expect from the terms of engagement with the EU once negotiations have begun, let alone what the wider parameters are.
"Businesses could be forgiven for being fearful of protracted Article 50 negotiations, but the reality is, a longer wait to get things right will be very much in their best interests, especially so given the staggeringly complex and multi-faceted nature of Brexit."
A government must trigger the article by officially notifying the EU of its intention to leave. Then there is a two-year period in which the terms of the leaver’s exit are negotiated.
During this time Britain would no longer be able to take part in any EU decision-making, and any exit agreements must be approved by all 27 remaining EU nations and the European Parliament. Then after Britain’s formal exit, fresh negotiations can begin on any new trade deals.
Register for free to continue reading
Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism
By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists
Already have an account? sign in
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies