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People’s Challenge group win right to publish secret Government Defence in Brexit case

For an extensive account of the issues outlined below, please visit the Bindmans website.

A group of ‘concerned British Citizens’ involved in the challenge to the Government’s plans to use the Royal Prerogative to evoke Art 50 have won the right to publish its complete legal defence and an unredacted version of their submissions ahead of a Court hearing in October. The Government had strongly objected to the defence being published arguing that a case management order made in July meant all Court papers had to remain confidential. However, in an Order made last night in response to an urgent application by the group, Mr Justice Cranston ruled that:

… the parties are not prohibited from publishing the Defendant’s or their own Detailed Grounds… against the background of the principle of open justice, it is difficult to see a justification for restricting publication of documents which are generally available under the Rules.

The People’s Challenge group has been crowdfunding to raise money to actively participate in the Article 50 litigation begun in July by Dier Dos Santos and Gina Miller so it can ensure a range of British Citizens’ interests are at the forefront of the Court’s mind. Last week, the group’s legal team made detailed legal submissions to the Court arguing that Article 50 cannot be invoked using prerogative powers and that only an Act of Parliament, preceded by proper parliamentary scrutiny, will be constitutionally sufficient.

John Halford of Bindmans LLP represents the group. He commented today:

The Court’s Order allows a floodlight to be shone on the government’s secret reasons for believing it alone can bring about Brexit without any meaningful parliamentary scrutiny. Those who were unsettled by the Government’s insistence on its defence being kept secret, will now be surprised by the contents, including submissions that Brexit has nothing constitutionally to do with the Scottish and Northern Ireland devolved governments, that Parliament ‘clearly understood’ it was surrendering any role it might have in Brexit by passing the EU Referendum Act, that it has no control over making and withdrawal from treaties and that individuals can have fundamental rights conferred by Acts of Parliament stripped away if and when the executive withdraws from the treaties on which they are based. These arguments will be tested in Court next month, but now they can be debated by the public too.

Members of the People’s Challenge group also welcomed the ruling. Robert Pigney commented:

After much secrecy the government have been made to show their legal arguments by the High Court – a big a step for the public to get closer to the truth of the government’s position and intentions.

Tahmid Chowdhury said:

In initially withholding disclosure of their arguments, the Government made a mockery of the transparency needed in a thriving democracy. They clearly now know they had no leg to stand on, and one can only hope the same thing happens in this case that should never have needed to come to court.

Grahame Pigney said:

It is good to see that the court has injected common sense and natural justice into the case. Proof, if any is needed, that that ordinary people working together, well organised and supported are capable of challenging and winning anything.

Chris Formaggia added:

It is hugely pleasing to learn that the court finds for the disclosure to the public of the arguments for and against the use of the archaic Royal Prerogative in a case that is of such enormous public interest.

President Schulz takes representations from New Europeans on behalf of EU citizens in the UK and Brits abroad

Speaking on behalf of New Europeans, Roger Casale, Founder and CEO said:

“It is essential that the position of EU citizens in Britain and Brits living in other EU member states is sorted out before Article 50 is triggered and Brexit negotiations begin. We live in the twenty-first century not the interwar period when governments bartered the rights of whole population groups. Even if the legal position is that the rights of EU citizens are not considered to be acquired rights under the Vienna convention, there can be no doubt that from a moral and political point of view, the UK government and the EU institutions and member states should recognise them as such and move swiftly to put the necessary legal safeguards in place. As far as the status of EU citizens and Brits who relocate post the 23 June vote, New Europeans and others will continue to campaign for the right to free movement to be maintained in any Brexit deal.”

See full text of letter to President Schulz here

Francesca – school pupil

Francesca is a school pupil living in Spain.   British children living in Europe also stand to be affected by the Brexit negotiations. To find out more about how Brexit will affect Francesca’s life or to contact her directly, contact us here.

British in Germany is an active member of BritishinEurope.org – the largest coalition group of British citizens living and working across Europe.

*These photographs of everyday European Brits are part of a collaboration with the photographer Charlie Clift.  For further information on his acclaimed exhibition go to BritsinEurope.com

Kirstin – Web Manager

Kirstin, 51 years old, is a web content manager at the ESRF, the European Synchrotron, in Grenoble. She went to France for a ski trip and is still there 32 years later. She loves her working environment – 40 different nationalities working together and the science, she says, is mind-blowing.  Last year she managed to convince her 80-year old mother to move from Norfolk to a small house just around the corner from her.  Her mother is now settling in well and has happily adapted to the French sun, markets and food culture. Until the Brexit vote, she’d never considered taking French nationality.   Now she’s getting all the paperwork together to  request dual-nationality. She’s worried that in the future it might be difficult to stay in France or to defend her interests as a Brit living in France.  She also wants to have the right to vote.  She feels Brexit is a waste of money and effort and is wary of the rise in the populist movements in parts of Europe seeing how they can easily tear people apart rather than unite. She adds that Brexit is sadly not gaining Brits any friends in France at the moment. Kirstin is divorced from her French partner and lives in Grenoble with her almost grown up children who are bilingual.

To hear more about how Brexit will affect Kirstin’s life or to contact her directly, contact us here

*These photographs of everyday European Brits are part of a collaboration with the photographer Charlie Clift.  For further information on his acclaimed exhibition go to BritsinEurope.com

Jack – Wine Maker

Jack, a 58 years old British winemaker,  bought a vineyard with his wife in Andillac, France to escape a busy life in the city of London. He has weekly French lessons and is falling in love with the French countryside.

To hear more about how Brexit will effect Jack’s life contact us here

*These photographs of everyday European Brits are part of a collaboration with the photographer Charlie Clift.  For further information on his acclaimed exhibition go to BritsinEurope.com