A new legal challenge to Brexit was issued in Ireland’s High Court on 27 January 2017. The action concerns whether Article 50 can be revoked after it has been triggered. Under EU law, a Member State has two years after Article 50 is triggered before it must leave the EU.
Barrister Jolyon Maugham QC raised £70,000 within 48 hours in order to fund the legal challenge. The claim is also being supported by Jonathan Bartley, co-leader of the Green Party of England and Wales, outgoing Stormont Green MLA Steven Agnew and Keith Taylor, Green MEP for South-East England.
On his crowdfunding page, Maugham writes:
“If we cannot withdraw our Article 50 notification then Parliament will have to accept those agreements – whatever their content…But if the notification can be withdrawn Parliament will have a choice: it will be free to reject that deal. And, because the Government knows this, and because it wishes to deliver the result of the Referendum, it will have to try to do the deal that Parliament wants or it will risk the possibility that Parliament throws the deal out.”
The action is to be taken against Ireland and the Attorney General, Máire Whelan. Ireland was chosen as it is another EU Member State which has a very similar legal system to that of the UK. In addition, it is expected that the Irish court will refer the case to a higher European court.
Maugham hopes the case will be heard in March or April, which is around the time Prime Minister Theresa May intends to trigger Article 50.