On November 3, 2016, the High Court of England and Wales handed down its judgment in the case of R (on the application of Santos) v. Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union  EWHC 2768 (Admin). This high-profile and closely followed case concerns the process that must be followed to trigger Britain’s exit from the European Union. In particular, the question before the court was whether the Prime Minister can wield her executive powers to trigger the exit or if she needs Parliamentary approval before doing so. In reaching its decision, the Court ruled in favor of the claimants, meaning that the Prime Minister does not have the power to trigger Britain’s exit from the European Union, but instead must first obtain Parliamentary approval.
Within hours of the decision, the UK Government confirmed that it intends to appeal the ruling, and the UK Supreme Court has set aside dates on December 7 and 8, 2016, to hear the appeal. Today’s High Court decision further complicates an already complex Brexit process, and at the very least is likely to slow down the plans for triggering Article 50, which had been anticipated to occur before March 2017.