Thu, 08 Dec 2016
On day four of the Brexit appeal being held in the Supreme Court, No5 Chambers barrister Manjit Gill QC was capturing many of the headlines and trending on twitter.
Head of International Human Rights law at No5, Mr Gill QC, who is based in London, won praise not just from legal colleagues as he made his ‘20 minutes count’ but also from journalists.
BBC Home affairs correspondent Dominic Casciani said: “Manjit Gill QC was given 20 minutes and he’s trying to make them count.”
Britain's best-known commentator on the law Joshua Rozenberg said: “Manjit Gill QC deals boldly with the point that others avoided: Referendum Act is silent about consequences because nobody expected Brexit.”
And Paralegal Emma Lui tweeted: “Manjit Gill QC, really bringing home the human cost of uncertainty over who has the power to trigger Article 50.”
Mr Gill QC and No5 colleague Ramby de Mello act on behalf of two interested parties (AB, KK and Children) who have been granted anonymity. They are the only parties in the proceedings who represent the position of several thousands of EEA nationals and their family members who will be directly affected by the giving of notice under Article 50(2). One of the interested parties they represent includes a mother with a dependent child.
Commentator Law and Policy tweeted that Mr Gill QC showed real passion with his submission: “Simple but powerful point. Impressive stuff.”
While author and journalist Will Black said: “It’s great seeing lawyers get excited on twitter about other lawyers, like Manjit Gill QC.”
Mr Gill QC and Mr de Mello, assisted by Tony Muman, argued that the giving of the notice under Article 50(2) TEU by the executive without the approval and authority of Parliament is unconstitutional and unlawful because the executive cannot exercise its prerogative to alter rights of residence enjoyed by EEA nationals and their family members without Parliament authorising them to do so. They submitted that the giving of notification under Article 50(2) that the United Kingdom intends to withdraw from the EU will bring to an end, at the point of withdrawal, the rights of residence and the other fundamental rights enjoyed by EEA nationals and their family members exercising European Union rights in the United Kingdom.
They argued that the giving of notice under Article 50(2) (without an Act of Parliament) will expose this class of persons to criminal liability and the risk of prosecution under the Immigration Act 1971. They said that the executive cannot exercise their prerogative in this manner to expose them to criminal liability. The also argued that the EU Referendum Act 2015 had been correctly characterised, by the Divisional Court, as advisory in nature.
Picture taken from BBC News at Ten, far top left Attornery General Jeremy Wright QC MP, middle Ramby de Mello and Manjit Gill QC right.