Government tells Peer that the ECJ has no jurisdiction over triggering of Article 50

THE PRESS OFFICE OF                                                           

The Lord Stoddart of Swindon (Independent Labour)                                                                                          

News Release

16th December 2016

Government tells Peer that the ECJ has no jurisdiction over triggering of Article 50 

In response to a written question from the independent Labour Peer, Lord Stoddart of Swindon, the Government has confirmed that it does not believe the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has any jurisdiction over the triggering of Article 50, in the preparations for Brexit.

Lord Stoddart  asked Her Majesty’s Government: ‘what advice they have received on whether the European Court of Justice has any jurisdiction over the manner and timing of the triggering of the use of Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty.’ (HL3720)

Responding for the Government, Lord Bridges of Headley from the Department for Exiting the European Union wrote:  ‘Article 50 of the Treaty of the European Union states that ‘any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements’ and ‘shall notify the European Council of its intention’. It is for the Member State concerned to determine what its constitutional requirements are. The manner in which the notice is given – to the European Council – is clearly set out in Article 50 itself.’

Commenting on the Government’s response, Lord Stoddart said:  “It appears that despite the self-important posturing of some members of the ECJ, the Government does not believe it is a potential obstacle to Brexit because the Court has no jurisdiction over the matter, which is excellent news.  It is absolutely wrong for the legal system to come between the people and their Government.  The people have spoken on Brexit, at the specific request of the Government and the lawyers should not be involved in attempting to obstruct or derail their decision.”

The full text of Lord Stoddart’s question and the Government’s answer is as follows:

Lord Bridges of Headley, Department for Exiting the European Union , provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL3720):

Question:
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what advice they have received on whether the European Court of Justice has any jurisdiction over the manner and timing of the triggering of the use of Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. (HL3720)

Tabled on: 30th November 2016

Answer:
Lord Bridges of Headley:

Article 50 of the Treaty of the European Union states that ‘any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements’ and ‘shall notify the European Council of its intention’. It is for the Member State concerned to determine what its constitutional requirements are. The manner in which the notice is given – to the European Council – is clearly set out in Article 50 itself. On the timing, the Prime Minister has been clear that we will notify by the end of March 2017.

Date and time of answer: 14 Dec 2016 at 16:49.

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2 comments

  1. Phil JonesReply

    I don’t believe either party will appeal the decision expected in January from the Supreme Court. It’s apparently going to be 7-4 to dismiss the appeal from the Divisional Court. If so, in my respectful opinion, the Divisional and Supreme Court decisions will be in error. Enough said on that. But if the expected decision were to be appealed, I believe that it would be up to the ECJ to decide if the matter before it was justiciable. What one party such as the UK Government thought on that matter would be irrelevant. The UK Government might be of the opinion that the ECJ could not look at the matter, but it would be up to the ECJ to decide that issue. I personally didn’t believe the Divisional Court would have considered the matter justiciable before it — but it did. We all know which way the ECJ would decide on the matter if it should come before it! Based on the short shrift that the High Court gave in 2008 to Stuart Wheeler’s self-funded case to give the British people a say on ratification of the Lisbon Treaty and on recent comments from the President and Vice President of the Supreme Court, I can’t help but consider the UK judiciary to be biased in favour of the EU.

  2. Gordon WebsterReply

    I thought this was perfectly obvious, and was made clear during the Referendum Campaign. Once Britain Repeals the European Acts it reasserts the Supremacy of British Law, if we we wish to argue the matter on a legal basis. Once that is done The ECJ has no reason or right to interfere with Britain, since it gains its only power from EU Treaties. The fact that those EU Treaties have no legal validity, other than as a Gentlemen’s Agreement between 28 Countries, and those Treaties may well breach the Vienna Convention on The Law of Treaties, suggests that we are still arguing about this after 6 months because our elected employees have no wish to leave the European Union.

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