Ruling on whether UK can unilaterally revoke Article 50 due day before MPs’ vote

By Lucinda Cameron, Press Association Scotland
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Ruling on whether UK can unilaterally revoke Article 50 due day before MPs’ vote

European judges will issue their ruling on December 10.

The European Court of Justice will deliver its ruling on whether the UK can unilaterally revoke its withdrawal from the EU the day before Tuesday’s crunch vote on the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal.

Monday’s ruling will come less than a week after a European Court of Justice (ECJ) Advocate General issued a legal opinion stating that the UK can unilaterally revoke its withdrawal from the EU.

Manuel Campos Sanchez-Bordona rejected the contention that Article 50 only allows the possibility of revocation following a unanimous decision of the European Council.

The opinion is not binding on the court but campaigners who brought the case said it is considered very influential, and welcomed the news the ruling would be delivered before December 11.

SNP MP Joanna Cherry, one of those involved in bringing the case, tweeted: “#CJEU will give final judgment in #Article50 case at 8am on Monday morning so our aim of ensuring MPs know revocation is possible before the #MeaningfulVote will be achieved.

“Thank to all who have supported us #Brexit #PeoplesVote.”

Campaigners have said if the ECJ rules that the UK can unilaterally revoke Brexit it could give the country the option to “stop the clock” on leaving the EU as it would give an alternative to the options of the Prime Minister’s deal or no-deal.

The case was brought forward by a group of Scottish politicians – Labour MEPs Catherine Stihler and David Martin, Joanna Cherry MP and Alyn Smith MEP of the SNP, as well as Green MSPs Andy Wightman and Ross Greer, together with lawyer Jolyon Maugham QC, director of the Good Law Project.

Their request for the Court of Session to refer the question of whether Article 50 can be unilaterally revoked to the ECJ was initially refused, before that ruling was overturned on appeal.

Two attempts by the UK Government, which is contesting the case, to appeal against the referral to the European court were rejected.

Mr Maugham said: “I’m very pleased that the court in Luxembourg has recognised the extreme importance of its answer and its urgency for the parliament.”

Once the ECJ has delivered its ruling the case will be referred back to the Court of Session in Edinburgh, where judges are expected to “frank” the decision and declare the European Court’s answer to be the law on the matter.