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BREXIT: Article 50 revocability court challenge to go ahead in Irish High Court

A new court challenge related to Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union will now go ahead in the Irish High Court after a crowdfunding campaign to pay for it raised over €70,000 within 48 hours.12 Dec 2016

The challenge will ask whether Article 50 should be revocable after it is activated, and whether, by leaving the EU, the UK automatically leaves the European Economic Area.

Under EU law a member state has two years after triggering Article 50 before it must leave the union.

QC Jolyon Maugham said in his crowdfunding appeal that he would initiate proceedings in the Irish courts as soon as sufficient money is raised.

"I have reason to believe that one or more MEPs will agree to act as claimants," Maugham said.

Maugham has instructed McGarr Solicitors and advised Joseph Dalby SC to act for the claimants. SCs are barristers of equivalent status to UK Queen's Counsel, he said.

"We will ask the Irish courts to make a reference to the Court of Justice of the European Union on the two questions," he said.

The case will be brought in Ireland because "the Irish Government has, we say, colluded in a breach of the EU Treaties by wrongly excluding the UK from meetings of the EU Council. We can only make that claim in the courts of Ireland," Maugham said.

"We came into the single market together, if we leave it alone there will be enormous economic and social disruption to both Ireland and Northern Ireland," he said.

EU law expert Guy Lougher of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com said: "If the court challenge arises, it shouldn’t delay or prevent the UK government from triggering Article 50, and the question of what role Parliament must play in order to trigger Article 50 is the subject of the current appeal to the Supreme Court. However, the prospect of questions about the breadth and revocability of Article 50 being brought before the EU Court of Justice may well complicate yet further the current situation. As an absolute minimum, it is to be hoped that the Court of Justice would agree to hear any court case on an expedited basis."