“Bringing power back to Parliament” was a much used slogan by Leavers in the Referendum arguments. In a sensational High Court ruling regarding Brexit in early November, the principal of just such Parliamentary Sovereignty was shown to be not as simple as those Leave campaigners originally assumed.
In their verdict in November, the judicial panel in the High Court found that Parliament needs to have a vote prior to invoking Article 50, as Royal Prerogative powers usually extensively exercised by the government essentially do not apply in this instance.
The doctrine that Parliament makes and enacts law was hardly contested – as was the concept that the Government of the day can make international agreements and treaties without Parliamentary process, in part using Royal Prerogative powers. However, as dismantling existing EU treaties would effectively alter domestic laws, the Lord Chief Justice Lord Thomas was forced to concede that a Parliamentary vote was needed regarding triggering Article 50, so that Parliament could fulfill its duty and right in making and altering statutes.
Ultimately – and unsurprisingly – Lord Thomas ruled in favour of the principal that Parliamentary Sovereignty is supreme. It was a hollow victory for Remain supporters, as the Government was swiftly granted a leave to appeal the High Court verdict (after all, a matter such as Brexit was never going to be settled at the High Court: the case was always destined for the Supreme Court). The matter has been referred to the Supreme Court who will hear and rule on the case as a matter of urgency in December.
>After all, trying to get a parliamentary vote on this matter will be difficult. Prime Minister Theresa May will probably whip enough votes, and will be able to instill a sense of party unity (even if somewhat disjointed and fractious) amongst the Conservative benches in support of triggering Article 50. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has still yet to come up with an effective way to rule the Labour Party, let alone come up with an effective EU strategy about Article 50 or anything else. That leaves the Scottish Nationalist Party – who will fight with one loud and united voice against Brexit, abd to securecan advantageous deal for Scotland. It is likely that, trailing behind them, but no less vocally, will be Welsh and Northern Ireland parties and MP’s.
Despite a definitive verdict, the whole Brexit matter is now less certain than before the verdict. Such jitters will doubtless be reflected in the economy, and in European and foreign investment and dealings with the UK. Ultimately, this does not aid an already emotive matter – and a matter where the clock is ticking, and Brussels and other nations are waiting to start exit negotiations.
This is similar to accident at work litigation, in that it is a question of timing. For personal injury law, the rules are very strict: the injured employee has three years from the accident at work within which to make a claim for compensation for their injuries. There are other legal criteria for accident at work compensation claims: the accident must not be the employee’s fault, and the negligence of the employer must be proven. In most cases, that last criteria is assumed automatically, as employers have a duty of care to their employees, and a legal obligation to take all reasonable steps to ensure the workplace is safe to work in.
If injured in an accident at work, it is your right to seek compensation from your employer if those and other criteria are met. When dealing with any such legal claims, it is always advisable to seek a good accident at work lawyer. Returning to the upcoming Supreme Court hearing, the government similarly has excellent legal representation in the form of First Treasury Counsel James Eadie QC, well known for his expertise in constitutional and national security cases.
Similarly to the three years deadline for personal injury litigation, Mr Eadie and his equally well known opponent Lord Paddick QC also have a tight time scale. Following the High Court verdict in November, they only have a month to prepare their respective cases prior to appearing before all eleven Supreme Court Justices in December. That is necessary, though, to ensure that No10 has enough time for Parliamentary proceedings prior to March 2017 and the Prime Minister’s promise to trigger Article 50. For all parties – time is of the essence.
For an accident at work claim – provided that criteria including fault, employer liability and negligence are met – then it is in most cases a foregone conclusion.
For Brexit- how Article 50 will be triggered, and indeed when, is not so straightforward. What is evident is that if the verdict leads to a Parliamentary vote, and that vote goes against Brexit – the majority who voted Leave will probably feel disenfranchised, and let down, by the current government – who ended up in power primarily on a Brexit mandate.