In a judgment of long-term constitutional importance, the Supreme Court has dismissed the Government’s appeal on the Brexit case by an 8 to 3 majority.

The court held that Government cannot use prerogative powers to give notice under Article 50 without an Act of Parliament. This is in keeping with the submissions on behalf of the claimants and the AB Parties that a debate, a vote, a resolution or a motion, even if it was of both Houses of Parliament, would not be enough.

The court accepted the argument that only Parliament can pass laws which interfere with rights which have been placed into the law by Parliament. 

The Government will now have to consider carefully what form of Act of Parliament it should bring forward. One of the minority judges considered that the protection of fundamental rights of EEA nationals and other residents in the UK was a matter for negotiation between the United Kingdom and the EU. But it is Parliament that will now have to decide to what extent it requires the Government to take steps to protect the rights which will be affected. 

Manjit Gill QC for the AB Parties had submitted to the court that it should not overturn established constitutional principles and should not allow the concept of a flexible constitution to be used to turn the constitution into a slippery one. The majority’s judgment represents a clear acceptance of this principle.

Read the press summary and full judgment on the Supreme Court’s website.

Manjit Gill QC, Ramby de Mello and Tony Muman were instructed for AB, KK and their children by Stuart Luke and Martin Bridger of Bhatia Best Solicitors.

Manjit Gill QC and Ramby de Mello will deliver two seminars on Brexit and Article 50: The Impacts on the Constitution and on Fundamental Rights.  

These will take place in London and Birmingham: