UK Supreme Court rules on Brexit

Justices ruled that Prime Minister Theresa May cannot lawfully bypass Parliament to start Brexit negotiations.

Following the June 2016 referendum, the Government had proposed to use its prerogative powers to withdraw from the EU by serving a Notice withdrawing the UK from the EU Treaties. The Supreme Court by a majority of 8 to 3 dismisses the Government’s appeal. The principal issue in these appeals is whether such a Notice can, under the UK’s constitutional arrangements, lawfully be given by Government ministers without prior authorisation by an Act of Parliament. In a joint judgment of the majority, the Supreme Court holds that an Act of Parliament is required to authorise ministers to give Notice of the decision of the UK to withdraw from the European Union. The Supreme Court considers that the terms of the European Communities Act, which gave effect to the UK’s membership of the EU, are inconsistent with the exercise by ministers of any power to withdraw from the EU Treaties without authorisation by a prior Act of Parliament.