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Francesca Richmond

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Today the UK Supreme Court has ruled that the UK Government does not have the power to trigger Article 50 without first being authorised to do so by an Act of Parliament. The decision in R (on the application of Miller and another) v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union [2017] UKSC 5 upholds the first-instance decision of the High Court made in November. As in the High Court proceedings, the Supreme Court stressed that its decision addresses questions of law only, and makes no comment on the merits of leaving the EU, which it holds to be a purely political issue. All 11 Supreme Court judges sat to hear the appeal, a first in the history of the Supreme Court and which demonstrates the significance of the case.

Today the High Court handed down its judgment in the highly publicised judicial review proceedings concerning the constitutional requirements for the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union (EU) and approach to invocation of the notification procedure under Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union. The Court has ruled that, according to fundamental principles of constitutional law, the Government does not have the power to trigger Article 50 without reference to Parliament.