People’s Challenge: Evidence & submissions in – trial in sight

This short update is to bring people up to date with this week’s developments. Our legal team is also preparing a detailed Q and A about what exactly will happen during the trial which we will post very soon.

So far, we have filed detailed legal arguments about our case along with our own evidence about why invoking Article 50 without full Parliamentary scrutiny and an Act of Parliament authorising that step is unacceptable.

Since then, the Government and our lawyers have filed further written submissions which the Court will read ahead of next week’s Divisional Court trial. Our lawyers are now hard at work honing those arguments so they can be presented as effectively as possible in the time slot they will get.

Please do consider donating again now so we can reach our stretch target and pay them for their work. And, whether or not you can afford to make a further contribution, please do use social media and e mail, the ‘phone and post to encourage others to help out at this critical time.

The Government was asked by our lawyers whether it was willing to make its further submissions (known as a ‘skeleton argument’) public. We’re very pleased to report it did voluntarily so late yesterday afternoon. That document, which develops the ‘detailed grounds of resistance’ made public as a result of our application to the Court, is also available here.

In response, our legal team has filed a short clarification noteemphasising that there is no common ground in the case on the central question: whether a constitutionally lawful decision has been made to leave the EU.

They have also drawn the Court’s attention to the fact that Parliamentarians were briefed during the EU Referendum Bill debate that the Bill contained no

“requirement for the UK Government to implement the results of the referendum, nor set a time limit by which a vote to leave the EU should be implemented”


“this is a type of referendum known as pre-legislative or consultative, which enables the electorate to voice an opinion which then influences the Government in its policy decisions”.

The 2015 briefing echoed what Parliament was told when the very similar EEC Referendum Bill was debated in March 1975:

“Parliament… can never divest itself of its sovereignty. The referendum itself cannot be held without parliamentary approval of the necessary legislation. Nor, if the decision is to come out of the Community, could that decision be made effective without further legislation”.

That is exactly our position. And Mrs Thatcher, then Leader of the Opposition, agreed in the debate that this was legally right.

The trial opens in the Royal Courts of Justice next Thursday, 13th October. The hearing continues on the 17th and concludes on the 18th.

The constitution of the Court has yet to be confirmed, but it is being led by The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd. Judgment is likely to be forthcoming in two to three weeks, because the Courts anticipated there being a leapfrog appeal to the Supreme Court and a hearing of that appeal this year.

Thank you again for your help so far. You – our supporters – are making the People’s Challenge possible.

Grahame, Rob, Paul, Tahmid, Chris and Fergal

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