The bombshell verdict hands a massive victory to Remainers ahead of Parliament’s Brexit vote. Here’s more on the sensational turn of events.
Can the UK cancel Brexit?
European judges are set to rule that Article 50 can be unilaterally revoked by the UK.
The revelation comes after a group of pro-EU politicians challenged claims that the UK could only cancel Brexit if the other 27 member states consented.
The European Court of Justice’s advocate general Manuel Campos Sanchez-Bordona confirmed that Britain has a “sovereign” right to change its mind.
While this guidance from the advocate general is non-binding, it is common for the ECJ to follow his initial advice.
The final ruling on the matter will be delivered on December 10, 2018.
Who brought the case to the ECJ?
A cross-party group of politicians and campaigners including Green MSPs Andy Wightman and Ross Greer, MEP Alyn Smith and MP Joanna Cherry of the SNP, and Labour MEPs David Martin and Catherine Stihler brought the case together with lawyer Jolyon Maugham QC, director of the Good Law Project.
The group initially took the matter to the Court of Session in Edinburgh, who agreed to pass it to the ECJ.
The UK government appealed the referral twice but attempts were rejected in a hearing before all 27 ECJ judges last week.
How would the UK revoke Article 50?
Revoking Article 50 and stopping Brexit would most likely need to be done by an act of parliament.
If it was done by ministers alone using prerogative powers it would frustrate the will of parliament as expressed in the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018.
At present, the case concerns revocation of notice to leave, and not a delay or extension of the two-year period provided for under Article 50.
That period can be extended, but only with the agreement of all of the other 27 EU states.
An extension of Article 50 could become a political necessity as negotiations continue to remain in the air.
Stopping Brexit could only really be a reality if the British people voted to remain in the EU in a second referendum.
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