The European Court docket of Justice (ECJ) has dominated that the UK can cancel Brexit with out the permission of the opposite 27 EU members.
The judges dominated that this could possibly be accomplished with out altering the phrases of Britain’s membership.
A bunch of anti-Brexit politicians and campaigners argued that the UK ought to be capable of unilaterally halt the Brexit course of if it desires to take action.
However their case was opposed by the UK authorities and the EU itself.
A senior ECJ official – the advocate basic – mentioned final week he agreed the UK ought to be capable of change its thoughts about leaving. His opinion was not legally binding, however the court docket tends to observe his recommendation within the majority of circumstances.
The choice comes the day earlier than the Home of Commons is because of vote on the prime minister’s Brexit take care of the EU – with MPs extensively anticipated to reject the proposals.
The campaigners hope the victory of their authorized case will improve the possibilities of Brexit being referred to as off fully, doubtlessly by means of one other referendum.
It’s because they consider it sends the message that MPs should not going through a alternative between accepting Mrs Could’s deal or leaving the EU with no deal, and that “there are different choices, and we will cease the clock.”
The case was introduced by a cross-party group of politicians, together with Scottish Inexperienced MSPs Andy Wightman and Ross Greer, SNP MEP Alyn Smith and MP Joanna Cherry and Labour MEPs David Martin and Catherine Stihler, who’ve been supported by Jolyon Maugham QC of the Good Regulation Undertaking.
They obtained a significant increase final week when one of many ECJ’s advocate generals, Manuel Campos Sanchez-Bordona, issued a press release which backed their place.
Mr Campos Sanchez-Bordona mentioned it was his opinion that if a rustic determined to depart the EU, it must also have the ability to vary its thoughts in the course of the two-year exit course of laid out in Article 50 of the EU treaty.
Crucially, he additionally mentioned it ought to have the opportunity to take action with out the consent of the opposite EU states.
However he mentioned the potential for revoking the choice could be topic to “sure circumstances and limits”. This consists of the withdrawal being a parliamentary determination, and observing “the ideas of fine religion and honest co-operation… to forestall abuse of the process”.
This was regardless of the EU warning throughout a earlier court docket listening to that it will set a harmful precedent by encouraging different international locations to announce they’re leaving in an try and safe higher membership phrases, earlier than cancelling their withdrawal.
The UK authorities’s attorneys argued that the case was purely hypothetical as “the UK doesn’t intend to revoke its notification”, and ECJ judges ought to due to this fact have refused to rule on it.
Additionally they claimed that the politicians behind it needed to make use of the case as “political ammunition for use in, and to strain, the UK Parliament”.
The case was initially taken to the Court docket of Session in Edinburgh, which in the end agreed to go it to the ECJ.
Two makes an attempt by the UK authorities to enchantment towards the referral to the European court docket had been rejected, and the case was heard by all 27 ECJ judges final month.