Remainers Mobilise After European Court Opens Door to Cancelling Brexit Altogether

Remainers Mobilise After European Court Opens Door to Cancelling Brexit Altogether”

Advocate General Manuel Campos Sanchez-Bordona told the European Court of Justice that a decision by the British government to change its mind about invoking Article 50 would be legally valid.

The ECJ has not yet made its ruling on the matter, but the breakthrough for pro-European Union activists in the United Kingdom came after the European advocate general gave his legal opinion on the matter.

Scottish MPs and MEPs had brought the case on Article 50 - a 250-word clause inserted into the EU charter eight years ago, which had never been used until the United Kingdom voted to exit the European Union in the summer of 2016. The petitioners in the case - six Scottish MPs, MEPs and MSPs, along with Devereux Chambers' Jolyon Maugham QC - argue the case will help clarify the realistic options for MPs who will vote on Theresa May's "Chequers deal" a week today.

It added: "That possibility continues to exist until such time as the withdrawal agreement is formally concluded". A government defeat on December 11, could pave the way to another general election or a second referendum on Brexit, though some also believe that with markets set to react dramatically, opponents could ultimately support a deal. It lost a final attempt last month to derail the case after the country's Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal on blocking the referral to the European Union judges, whose power over British law many pro-Brexit supporters want to sever.

At the hearing last week, Aidan O'Neill QC, representing the politicians who brought the case, said they need to know all their options on Brexit, including whether the United Kingdom can unilaterally halt the process ahead of critical votes on the withdrawal agreement.

The court case was referred to the ECJ by Edinburgh's Court of Session in September after a legal case was brought by a group of anti-Brexit Scottish politicians.

"If the CJEU judgment does follow the advocate general's approach, it would confirm that the United Kingdom government has the option of revoking unilaterally the UK's Article 50 notification before 29 March 2019, with the effect that the United Kingdom would continue as an European Union member state on current terms". The UK government had appealed against the referral, saying the question was purely hypothetical as there is no prospect of the UK government or MPs asking to cancel Brexit.

Lawyers representing the Council of the European Union and from the European Commission argue revocation is possible but would require unanimous agreement from all member states.

Although the Advocate General's opinion is non-binding, the ECJ follow his opinions in the majority of cases.

Michel Barnier, the EU's chief Brexit negotiator, has previously said that the EU27 would need to provide their consent to reverse the Brexit process.

Noting the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, the legal opinion states "notifications of withdrawal from an worldwide treaty may be revoked at any time before they take effect". "And the 2016 referendum parliament enacted was only advisory, after all... there is no denying the path to remain just got easier".

It should be noted that the statement and the case concerns revocation of notice to leave, and not a delay or extension of the two-year period provided for under Article 50.

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