Article 50 Challenge

by Liz Webster

Article 50 Challenge

by Liz Webster
Liz Webster
Article 50 is invalid. We are a group of ordinary people who value due process and the sovereignty of Parliament in our democracy.
16
days to go
£131,995
pledged of £200,000 stretch target by 4,689 people
Pledge now
Liz Webster
Article 50 is invalid. We are a group of ordinary people who value due process and the sovereignty of Parliament in our democracy.
Pledge now

This case is raising funds for its stretch target. Your pledge will be collected within the next 24-48 hours (and it only takes two minutes to pledge!)

Government Response Received

Jan. 19, 2018

We have received a response to our Statement of Facts and Grounds from the Government. Counsel are holding a conference with solicitors on Monday afternoon and we hope to be able to provide a more substantive update after that. We would like to publish all documents but we are being advised by lawyers not to do so at this juncture.

Please bear in mind, this case is of significant constitutional ...

Read More >>

The Courts must reject the Government’s illegal Article 50 Notification


“Brexit is built on sand. When we look past the rhetoric and hype about the Will of the People and examine the facts and events that led to Brexit, we see that the Article 50 process was not followed properly and that our Article 50 notification is predicated on a decision that has no basis in law. Despite what many people were led to believe, Parliament has never delegated the withdrawal decision to the people and has never made the withdrawal decision itself. With no constitutionally valid decision, the process is invalid and illegal.” - Professor A. C. Grayling, Master

In spite of what the Government claims, the Article 50 notification given on 29 March 2017 is invalid, and we are seeking to challenge its legality in the courts. If we are successful, the notification will be nullified, Brexit will be halted, and the decision to leave or remain will be back in the hands of Parliament where it belongs.

The Government maintains that the 2016 EU Referendum was a decision to leave the EU – a decision “by the people”.

This is untrue. The Referendum was advisory only, and the Supreme Court has ruled that neither the Government nor the people are legally entitled to make such a decision. Only Parliament may do so, and then only by an Act of Parliament.

Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) requires a withdrawal decision to be made before notice can be served. The Government has misled Parliament, the public and the European Council. To date, no decision has been made by Parliament and therefore there is no constitutionally valid decision to leave. The purported Article 50 notification is therefore illegal and invalid – a sham.

Have you been misled? Follow this link for some background information about the Referendum, Article 50, and the circumstances leading to The Article 50 Challenge.


The Legal Position 


Think of Article 50 as the exit clause in a contract, with one condition to be met: Has a constitutionally valid withdrawal decision been made? Yes or No. If yes, notification of intention to leave is obligatory.

Had the European Union Referendum Act 2015 made the vote binding and the result of the vote was to leave, the Government would have been obliged to give Article 50 notification. There would be no Article 50 Challenge because, in passing such an Act, Parliament would have delegated the decision to the people and the people’s decision would by law need to be carried out.

But that is not the Act that was passed by Parliament. The Act only made provision for an advisory (or consultative) referendum – effectively an opinion poll – to gauge the country’s interest in leaving or remaining in the EU. Parliament did not delegate the decision to the people.

Nevertheless, following the passage of the EU Referendum Act, then Prime Minister David Cameron made claims that the matter was for the British people to decide, and this message gained momentum and was echoed by other politicians and in the Government pamphlet on the Referendum.  But the claims were not backed by legislation and repeating them did not make them law, as the Government later found when they lost the case brought by Gina Miller in which the Supreme Court ruled that the Referendum had not delivered a constitutionally valid withdrawal decision. While the ruling in the Miller case had made it clear that the Referendum result could not stand as the withdrawal decision, the Government responded to the ruling with smoke and mirrors.

“Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!”  - L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Within days of the Supreme Court ruling, David Davis introduced The European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill 2017 (EU NoW Bill) to the House of Commons saying it was: "not a Bill about whether the UK should leave the European Union or, indeed, about how it should do so; it is simply about Parliament empowering the Government to implement a decision already made—a point of no return already passed.”

The Bill focused exclusively on the mechanics of notification and ignored the single condition, still unmet, required to “trigger” Article 50: a constitutionally valid withdrawal decision. Notably, in relying on a non-existent “decision already made,” the Government successfully sidestepped any Parliamentary debate of the Referendum result.

Davis’s words of introduction confirm beyond doubt that the EU NoW Act was not intended to make the withdrawal decision; a claim that is 100% consistent with the wording of the Act itself. Anyone can confirm this for themselves in just a few minutes by looking at the legislation’s explanatory notes here.

With no constitutionally valid withdrawal decision in law, we are calling on the UK Courts to rule that the Article 50 notification is invalid.


This Action


We are a group of private individuals – lawyers, professionals, and academics, including Professor A.C. Grayling – who are alarmed at the disorderly way in which the UK is approaching the critical issue of Brexit as exemplified by the facts of this case.

If successful, the UK’s Article 50 notification would be nullified along with any withdrawal agreements (if made), and the process would have to be started afresh, if and when a constitutionally valid withdrawal decision is made.

“The only way to resolve the question, for the benefit of Leavers and Remainers alike, is for a court to decide whether or not a valid decision was taken before the Article 50 notification of 29 March 2017. That is why we are taking this action and seeking funding to support it." - Professor A. C. Grayling, Master

Hugh Mercer QC of Essex Court Chambers and Gwion Lewis of Landmark Chambers are instructed on this matter with a leading regional firm of solicitors.

The UK courts will be asked to address the question that only they can answer, namely whether the United Kingdom decided to withdraw from the EU in line with its constitutional requirements.


What you can do


If you care about the United Kingdom, its nations, its businesses and its people, whether you are a Remainer who does not want Brexit or a Leaver who wants Brexit done with due process, we invite you to support our campaign with your pledge and spread the word as widely as possible on Facebook, Twitter, other social media and elsewhere, using the hashtags #A50Challenge and #A50Invalidity.

“Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you." - Pericles

Please pledge what you can. Small amounts add up.

Government Response Received

Jan. 19, 2018

We have received a response to our Statement of Facts and Grounds from the Government. Counsel are holding a conference with solicitors on Monday afternoon and we hope to be able to provide a more substantive update after that. We would like to publish all documents but we are being advised by lawyers not to do so at this juncture.

Please bear in mind, this case is of significant constitutional importance and we are led by the professional advice provided by our expert legal team.

Thank you for your continued support and patience.

Papers Served on the Secretary of State

Jan. 5, 2018

We wish you all a Happy New Year.  The first part of 2018 should see #A50Challenge forge ahead to make history in the High Court and, very probably, the Supreme Court.  Thank you all for helping to make this happen.  This legal challenge is now approaching 4,350 members; we hope to break records by making this the largest ever people’s challenge, so please keep encouraging others to join us.

We are making waves! The Lawyer, a specialist monthly legal publication, has selected #A50Challenge as one of the top 20 cases for 2018. Their annual feature is due to be published week commencing 15 January and we will provide you with a copy as soon as it’s available.

Our Statement of Facts and Grounds, bundles and claim form were formally served on the Secretary of State for Exiting the EU on 28 December 2017. The Government has 21 days to respond. 

It is difficult to provide a timetable for next steps as the matter is now with the court. However, because this case is of huge constitutional importance we have requested that it be expedited. We await a response from the Secretary of State.

As we approach our current fundraising target we must look ahead to the next stretch target, which will be set at £200,000. Most of you are aware — though it bears repeating — that our fundraising targets will continue to stretch as the campaign moves forward. Doing so means we are making progress, the case remains strong, and we are not deterred. With the Government having confirmed receipt of the papers and with the expectation that a hearing date will soon be fixed, there is plenty of work to do. This is a big case and you are part of it!

How to help

The Article 50 Challenge can only keep going with your help. We have to be prepared to fight beyond the High Court to the Supreme Court, with the possibility of referral to the ECJ. The costs will be significant, but negligible in comparison to the overall costs of a disorganised Brexit. 

We know many of you have pledged before, and your ongoing support is what we’ll need to see this through. Please continue to support the Challenge by contributing whatever amount your circumstances will permit. Small donations really add up, and all donations are accepted with gratitude.

Don’t underestimate the other things you can do to help broaden our support base. With more people in the pool, the financial burden can be far less impactful on each of us.

Please don’t forget to talk to people. It is essential that people’s complacency with the Article 50 process be challenged. Many believe it’s a done deal and that nothing can be changed. Gently help them to become educated on this important but widely misunderstood subject. Whatever the outcome of the Challenge, increasing public awareness will inevitably affect Parliamentary voting patterns.

Thank you for being our partners in helping make the right thing happen.

Article 50 Challenge Has Been Filed

Dec. 22, 2017

We have today filed in the High Court in London, seeking permission for a hearing.

News of our filing with the High Court was reported today in The Independent - link here.

This is a significant milestone. While the act of filing for Judicial Review is straightforward and administrative, in reality an extraordinary amount of work goes into the statement of facts and grounds required for this permission stage. This has been the primary focus of counsel for the past several weeks. Upon filing, the Government and interested parties (in this case, the devolved administrations) will be served with papers. 

Put simply, we argue that Article 50 requires a decision to be made ‘according to a member state’s constitutional requirements’ before any notice can be served. Parliament has never delegated the withdrawal decision to the people and has never made the withdrawal decision itself, and therefore our Article 50 notification is invalid and illegal.

The key criterion for obtaining permission for a hearing is that the case for an error in law be arguable. Our advice is that the Article 50 Challenge meets this criterion. It is normal and expected that the Government will reply with their grounds of defence, i.e. why they say the case is not arguable.

If permission is refused, we will “renew” the decision to be heard in open court. If granted, the claim can proceed with a final hearing. Once in court, Judicial Reviews seldom take more than a few days and may well be over in a day.

We do not know how long it will take for the Administrative Court to respond about the permission we seek, and of course their response time will be affected by the holidays. See below for a summary of the Judicial Review process.

“Whether you are for or against Brexit, we believe it is a democratic scandal that the public and Parliament have been misled by Mrs May, David Davis and others. It is an abuse of our constitution,” says Liz Webster claimant in the Article 50 Challenge case. Reasons2Remain published an article by Liz Webster on 13 December about the Article 50 Challenge - link here.

The Judicial Review Process

Judicial review (JR) is a type of court proceeding in which a judge reviews the lawfulness of a decision or action made by a public body. In other words, judicial reviews are a challenge to the way in which a decision has been made, rather than the rights and wrongs of the conclusion reached.

Steps of Judicial Review Procedure:

A formal letter is sent to the proposed defendant setting out the claim. Normally a response is expected within 14 days. (Article 50 Challenge has received Government’s response to our Letter - see update 29.11.17)

Lodge the JR claim in the Administrative Court (which is a branch of the High Court) to apply for “permission.” The primary test for obtaining permission to proceed is that the case is deemed to be arguable. (Counsel is currently finalising the claim form and statement of facts to be lodged/filed around 21.12.17).

Once issued, the defendant is served and any interested parties are served with the papers. (Devolved Governments have been cited as interested parties). 

The court then sends the papers to a judge for a decision on paper. If permission is refused, we can "renew" the decision to be heard in open court. The other parties may or may not attend. 

If permission is granted, the claim proper can proceed with a final hearing. JRs seldom take more than three days in court, and many in our experience are over within one day.

Our CrowdJustice page

Getting the Article 50 Challenge launched has been a whirlwind of competing priorities, with our attention spread thinly across legal, fundraising and PR activities. We are just coming up for air.

Something that directly affects our donors is the quality of the information we provide on the CrowdJustice page, including our periodic updates. We are the first to admit that in prioritising legal readiness, our CrowdJustice page did not get the attention it deserved at the outset. While rich in content, it suffered in clarity and presentation. We are putting that right and have made changes – please take a fresh look at the page if you haven’t seen it lately. The improvements we’ve made are qualitative only, to communicate the points more clearly and succinctly. The facts and propositions of the case have not changed. Our promise to you, our donors, is to provide you with quality information so that you always have a good understanding of the case, its premise, and how it is progressing.

How to help

The Article 50 Challenge can only keep going with your help. Our fundraising targets will continue to stretch as the campaign progresses. We have to be prepared to fight beyond the High Court to the Supreme Court with possibility of referral to the ECJ. Inevitably the costs will be significant but negligible in comparison to the overall costs of Brexit. We know many of you have pledged before, and your ongoing support is what we’ll need to see this through. Please continue to support the Challenge by contributing whatever amount your circumstances will permit. Small donations really add up, and all donations are accepted with gratitude.

There are other things you can do to help broaden our support base. With more people in the pool, the financial burden can be far less impactful on each of us.

Email five friends inviting them to pledge to the Article 50 Challenge

Post a link to http://tinyurl.com/a50challenge on Facebook asking network friends to pledge

Use WhatsApp or Messenger with a link to http://tinyurl.com/a50challenge to Facebook asking friends to pledge

Tweet in support using http://tinyurl.com/a50challenge and #A50Challenge.

Please don’t forget to talk to people. It is essential that peoples’ complacency with the Article 50 process be challenged. Many people think it’s a done deal and that nothing can be done. Help them to become educated on this important but widely misunderstood subject. Whatever the outcome of the Challenge, increasing public awareness will inevitably affect Parliamentary voting patterns.

Thank you for being our partners in helping make the right thing happen.

Very encouraging conference with Counsel

Dec. 5, 2017


Our solicitors and counsel (Gwion Lewis and Hugh Mercer QC)  met yesterday, 4 December. We are all buoyed up by progress, and our confidence in our case, based on positive advice, continues to build. 

Most people will be unaware that the validity of the Brexit arrangements, whatever they are, have to go before the European Court of Justice to be signed off.  This issue cannot be left unaddressed.

Some may see this invalidity case as just a ploy to stop Brexit. However, if we don’t deal with this now, we are storing up trouble - any deal depends on Article 50 and can be struck down at any time if the process was invalid, including after we’ve left.  Even a “no deal” Brexit can be struck down.

Therefore, it is essential this is decided now, once and for all, both for the UK and our EU partners. Additionally, there is a compelling political argument for a UK court to answer the question.  A ruling by the ECJ at the end that it’s all invalid would be an embarrassing calamity to say the least.

We are now working to file with the court in around 14 days’ time; the pressure to expedite is enormous but counsel are adamant the Statement of Facts and Grounds, which is a formal document required to file a case such as this, must be prepared thoroughly - “only fools rush in …”

Donors not familiar with legal cases may find the progress slow and protracted, but it is a front-loaded process and behind the scenes there is a lot of activity.  To date, we have used donations to instruct solicitors and barristers (referred to as “counsel” above).  They have drafted and sent a Letter of Claim which set out our key points to the Government and the response was received last week.  Now, they are preparing the Statement of Facts and Grounds mentioned above and when that is done, the action will be filed in the court

After we have filed,  the court will consider whether to grant permission for the case to proceed based on the paperwork or in a hearing.  We are advised that any objection for permission to be granted is highly unlikely to be sustained for several reasons; one being that leaving the matter unresolved means it will have to be settled by the ECJ at one point or another.   

We are unable to issue projected timelines at this stage, but we shall do so when we can.

We are working on the basis that total costs at first instance could be as high as £200,000 and we must be prepared for this case to escalate up to the Supreme Court whoever wins. This is why we shall be fundraising throughout to ensure we can pursue the matter to the end.

We need your continued help to reach the current £125,000 stretch target.  We know many of you have pledged more than once, so if you can't pledge again now, please don’t worry.

In addition to pledging, you can help by urging your family, colleagues and friends to pledge by, say: 

Finally, we’d like to say a big thank you to all of you for your continued support - both your financial support and the inspiring comments - we do read all of them!


Government response to letter of claim now in

Nov. 29, 2017

The government’s response to our letter of claim was received, and our solicitors are now instructed to issue proceedings in the High Court as soon as possible. The government’s response contains no argument that had not been considered before. Our confidence in our case, based on positive advice, is undiminished.

Next steps

Our solicitors and Gwion Lewis and Hugh Mercer QC of counsel will be in conference early next week. Preparation of the claim will be a collaborative effort between solicitors and both counsel. Proceedings will be issued as soon as possible and we shall report further next week after the conference with counsel has taken place.

When filing in the High Court, there is always a risk that the case will not be heard. Both counsel agree that any argument that the case should not be heard is highly unlikely to succeed.

How to help

The Article 50 Challenge can only keep going with your help. Our fundraising stretch target is now set at £125,000. We know many of you have pledged before, and your ongoing support is what we’ll need to see this through. Please continue to support the Challenge by contributing whatever amount your circumstances will permit. Small donations really add up, and all donations are accepted with gratitude.

There are other things you can do to help broaden our support base. With more people in the pool, the financial burden can be far less impactful on all of us.

Email five friends inviting them to pledge to the Article 50 Challenge

Post a link to http://tinyurl.com/a50challenge on Facebook asking network friends to pledge

Use WhatsApp or Messenger with a link to http://tinyurl.com/a50challenge to Facebook asking friends to pledge

Tweet in support using http://tinyurl.com/a50challenge and #A50Challenge.

Please don’t forget to talk to people. It is essential that peoples’ complacency with the Article 50 process be challenged. Help them to become educated on this important but widely misunderstood subject. Whatever the outcome of the Challenge, increasing public awareness will inevitably affect Parliamentary voting patterns.

Thank you for being our partners in helping make the right thing happen.

No Accountability for Brexit and Article 50 Myth-buster

Nov. 23, 2017

Government response to letter of claim due next week

The government’s response to our letter of claim is due by the end of next week. Once received, we will issue proceedings in the High Court.

No accountability for Brexit - the point of the Article 50 Challenge

At its core, the Article 50 Challenge is about restoring Parliamentary sovereignty over the question of whether the UK remains in the EU, or leaves. Because Parliament was never asked to debate the Referendum result and decide what is right for the country and its people, it is not in a position of ownership and accountability. This is what we seek to change.

If Parliament had made the decision to leave the EU (as we say it is obliged to do by law) and owned it, then Parliamentarians would be reviewing the decision to leave the EU in light of the relentlessly increasing evidence of expected damage to the economy, services and social fabric.

Article 50 Myth-buster 

Questions have come up this week from donors about the Gina Miller case and the Supreme Court’s ruling in it, and the revocability of Article 50. We imagine others may have similar questions or concerns, so we’ve prepared the table below in the hope it can help clarify any misapprehensions.


Proposition:
 
Discussion:
1.
The Supreme Court decision in Miller did not say Parliament must make the actual decision to leave

Technically true, but when read alongside Article 50 – as it must be – it does. The rationale of Miller was that the actual decision belongs to Parliament and that no decision had yet been made. It’s clear from Article 50 (which governs the entire process including the decision) that it’s the substantive decision that must meet the Miller requirements. The government’s own lawyers in Miller correctly said that Parliament had to make the leave decision itself in legislative form.
2.
The Supreme Court said that Parliament only had to authorise notification of the intention (i.e. just the triggering not the decision to leave)

No. This is essentially the same point as above. This is a common misapprehension due to taking some wording in Miller literally and ignoring Article 50 and the underlying rationale of Miller.
3.
Lord Callanan agrees Brexit can be revoked

No. What he said was that he was wrong to say that Miller said Article 50 couldn’t be revoked. The parties agreed it couldn’t for the benefit of the case, but Miller didn’t decide the point, and couldn’t. Only the ECJ could do so.
4.
Article 50 is irrevocable

No. EU has said on many occasions that it can be revoked by agreement if the government wants to.
5.
Article 50 can be revoked whether the EU likes it or not

Unproven. Article 50(3) indicates that the decision to leave (if made) is irrevocable. There are arguments to the contrary (e.g. Three Knights) – these are difficult and controversial. See also - 10 and 11.
6.
The Article 50 process is valid

The Article 50 Challenge has received positive advice and is confident in its case that a constitutionally valid withdrawal decision has not been made by Parliament. If so, the entire process is invalid.
7.
Fundamental rights granted by Parliament can only be removed by Parliament


Yes. Notably, if Parliament is deemed to have made the Article 50 decision (i.e. the Article 50 Challenge fails), it has already approved the loss of rights. There are arguments to the contrary that are difficult and controversial. They are also unproven so are best held in reserve in case Plan B is required.
8.
Parliament can block a “no deal” Brexit

No. If Parliament is deemed to have made the Article 50 decision (i.e. the Article 50 Challenge fails), it has already approved “no deal” Brexit and nothing in the Withdrawal Bill can change that. “No deal” is the only form of Brexit Parliament can’t legally block. There are arguments to the contrary that are difficult and controversial. They are also unproven so are best held in reserve in case Plan B is required.
9.
There is secret advice that the government can revoke

If there is such advice, it’s possible it is centred on the validity issue rather than revocability (but this is speculation on our part).
10.
The Three Knights argument could stop Brexit

The argument is difficult and controversial. The Article 50 Challenge would say that Article 50 requires a one-off decision upfront. This is in English and even more clear (in our opinion) when read in other languages.

The Three Knights relies on the ECJ agreeing that there can be a two-stage decision, which means Parliament could make a final decision at the end. This could be tried if Article 50 is found to be valid (i.e. the Article 50 Challenge fails) and:
A no deal Brexit is on the table (either proposed or as the default resulting from Parliament having rejected a deal)
Parliament wants to block it
The government wanted to proceed with Brexit, or the EU did a U-turn and refused a request to let the UK stay by agreement
The ECJ agrees that an article 50 decision could be conditional
It was in fact conditional (Parliament may have already approved “no deal” as it’s the default position)
While it’s generally agreed that Parliament can block a deal, it’s very difficult to argue it should be able to block a “no deal” because it is the clear default in Article 50.
11.
An Article 50 decision is a conditional statement of intent as at the time of notification. That intent can be changed (e.g. if Parliament disapproves of the loss of rights)

This relates to points 5 and 10. Article 50 is focused on the constitutionality of the upfront decision precisely because, once made, the expectation is it will be followed through. Some very distinguished lawyers argue (e.g. Three Knights) that a decision can be conditional (see 10 above).

Did David Davis know he was asking Parliament the wrong question?

Nov. 19, 2017

In the case brought by Gina Miller, the government’s own lawyers said that if they lost:

“Parliament must be asked to answer precisely the same question which was put by Parliament to the electorate and has been answered in the referendum, and must give the same answer in legislative form.”

In Miller, the Supreme Court ruled that an Act of Parliament was required to invoke Article 50. It further meant, as the Court stressed, that the Referendum result could not constitutionally stand as the withdrawal decision. The appropriate response would have been for the government to ask Parliament for a decision to leave the EU and to put it in legislative form, precisely as the government’s own lawyers had clearly articulated in the quotation above. It is that decision, and that decision alone, that enables Article 50 to be triggered.

Instead, they introduced the European Union (Notice of Withdrawal) Bill 2017 (EU NoW Bill), which asked only for authority to notify, with David Davis, Lord Bridges, Baroness Evans and others claiming that the decision had already been made. It’s worth pointing out that notification does not require any authority that the Prime Minister did not already have; in fact notification is an obligation under Article 50 once a decision is made.

Did they know they were asking the wrong question of Parliament? In short, yes. Government lawyers understood what was needed, and the Bill’s deficiency was pointed out by many including Jo Maugham, and ignored.

They must have also known they were taking a gamble, so why the smoke and mirrors? We can only speculate, but it is reasonable to infer that they sought to prevent parliamentary debate on the result of the Referendum for fear of a rough passage, delays or a different outcome. Also, asking for a decision from Parliament would have exposed the government’s misleading rhetoric as doing so stands in contradiction of their persistent claim that the people would decide.

In real terms the EU NoW Bill, which became the Act, provided a smoke screen to give the appearance of legitimacy to the subsequent triggering of Article 50 while preventing Parliament from debating the result of the Referendum.

The Article 50 Challenge can only keep going with your help. Please continue to support the Challenge by contributing whatever amount your circumstances will permit. Small donations really add up, and all donations are accepted with gratitude.

There are other things you can do to help broaden our support base. With more people in the pool, the financial burden can be far less impactful on all of us.

Email five friends inviting them to pledge to the Article 50 Challenge

Post a link to http://tinyurl.com/a50challenge on Facebook asking network friends to pledge

Use WhatsApp or Messenger with a link to http://tinyurl.com/a50challenge to Facebook asking friends to pledge

Tweet in support using http://tinyurl.com/a50challenge and #A50Challenge.

Please don’t forget to talk to people. It is essential that peoples’ complacency with the Article 50 process be challenged. Help them to become educated on this important but widely misunderstood subject. Whatever the outcome of the Challenge, increasing public awareness will inevitably affect Parliamentary voting patterns.

Thank you for being our partners in helping make the right thing happen.

Letter of claim gone today and new target

Nov. 16, 2017

A letter of claim has gone to the government today, to put them on notice that court proceedings may be brought. It sets out the remedy required which is a declaration that there has been no valid decision to leave the EU. The devolved administrations have been cited as interested parties and copies have gone to EU institutions for information.

A response is required within 14 days and the action will be commenced shortly after that.

The new target

A case such as this must be done properly, and no corners can be cut. When all is said and done, the case is likely to have been through several stages. In fact it is entirely likely that it will go to the Supreme Court, and a European Court of Justice reference is also possible. The total cost is unknowable at this stage, which is why we proceed with new fundraising targets as completed steps tell us we’re good to go for the next steps. Each stretch target is what we think we need in each stage to enable us to go to the next one.

Costs for the high court alone may reach £200,000. We hope not, but we should be ready for costs in that range.

The new stretch target is £125,000 from 17 November 2017, and we need to reach it in the next 30 days.

The Article 50 Challenge can only keep going with your help. Please continue to support the Challenge by contributing whatever amount your circumstances will permit. Small donations really add up, and all donations are accepted with gratitude.

Another great way to help the Challenge is to help us broaden our support base.

Email five friends inviting them to pledge to the Article 50 Challenge

Post a link to http://tinyurl.com/a50challenge on Facebook asking network friends to pledge

Use WhatsApp or Messenger with a link to http://tinyurl.com/a50challenge to Facebook asking friends to pledge

Tweet in support using http://tinyurl.com/a50challenge and #A50Challenge.

And please don’t forget to talk to people. It is essential that peoples’ complacency with the Article 50 process be challenged. Help them to become educated on this important but widely misunderstood subject. Whatever the outcome of the Challenge, increasing public awareness will inevitably affect Parliamentary voting patterns.

Thank you for being our partners in helping make the right thing happen.

Put Parliament back in the driving seat with Article 50 Challenge.

Nov. 15, 2017

The aim of the Article 50 Challenge is to stop Brexit in its tracks and put Parliament back in the driving seat where it belongs. Because if this aim – the restoration of our Parliamentary democracy - we consider this campaign to be of the utmost importance.

We know there are other initiatives underway with varying overlapping aims to stop Brexit, and sometimes the lines can seem blurry. One that has had some recent attention is Lord Kerr’s suggestion of revocability of Article 50. It’s worth teasing apart the main differences between our “invalidity” approach and the Lord Kerr “revocability” approach.

To begin with, both are perfectly relevant and valid approaches, but one is not a substitute for the other. The key distinction is that while our “invalidity” approach would nullify the Article 50 notification, it would very likely be against the will of the Government (save for a sudden and surprising change of heart). “Revocability” would only happen through a decision and subsequent action taken by the Government, which seems unlikely in the current environment.

It’s important to note that Article 50 (paragraph 3) indicates that a decision to leave, once notified, is irrevocable. By extension, this suggests a default “no deal” outcome if, in fact, we reach the end of the two-year period with no deal and no extension agreed. So on the face of there can be no unilateral revocation and Parliament can't stop a "no deal" scenario. There are lawyers who argue otherwise (e.g. Three Knights Opinion), but it's not an easy argument and is far from proven.

In our view, the “revocability” argument is a worthy pursuit but must be seen as Plan B because it relies on a Government policy U-turn. The “invalidity” argument can stop Brexit in its tracks regardless of Government policy.

Help us continue our work on Plan A; it’s the way to stop Brexit in its tracks. Please support the Challenge by contributing whatever amount your circumstances will permit. Small donations really add up, and all donations are accepted with gratitude.

There are other things you can do to help broaden our support base.

Email five friends inviting them to pledge to the Article 50 Challenge

Post a link to http://tinyurl.com/a50challenge on Facebook asking network friends to pledge

Use WhatsApp or Messenger with a link to http://tinyurl.com/a50challenge to Facebook asking friends to pledge

Tweet in support using http://tinyurl.com/a50challenge and #A50Challenge.

Thank you for being our partners in helping make the right thing happen.

"Exit day" blues? Not any more! Letter before action to go out this week

Nov. 13, 2017

Making history together!

This week we will send the Letter of claim (or Letter before action) to the government. We will do so as we hit our £75,000 target, giving us the confidence we need that we are building a solid support base and will have the backing we need to see this through. Thank you for being part of this success.

We will need to wait a short time for their response. Assuming nothing unexpected, our action to challenge the validity of Brexit will be launched at the earliest opportunity.

The Article 50 Challenge can only keep going with your help. Please continue to support the Challenge by contributing whatever amount your circumstances will permit. Small donations really add up, and all donations are accepted with gratitude.

There are other things you can do to help broaden our support base.

Email five friends inviting them to pledge to the Article 50 Challenge

Post a link to http://tinyurl.com/a50challenge on Facebook asking network friends to pledge

Use WhatsApp or Messenger with a link to http://tinyurl.com/a50challenge to Facebook asking friends to pledge

Tweet in support using http://tinyurl.com/a50challenge and #A50Challenge.

Why is Theresa May’s Fixed Exit Day Significant?

Nov. 10, 2017

Theresa May’s fixed exit day amendment is significant and is worth exploring here.

In the Repeal Bill, “exit day” was defined as a date to be chosen by Ministers instead of as the day we leave the EU under Article 50 - the obvious "exit day" (assuming the Article 50 process is found to be valid).

Theresa May is today saying the exit date will be set as 29 March 2019 - again instead of the day we leave the EU under Article 50.

Article 50 is explicit. Exit day is, by default, two years from the notification of a decision to withdraw from the EU. It may be sooner if an agreement is struck, and it may be later if all parties agree that more time is needed. The key point is that all eventualities are covered when exit day is defined to be the day the Treaties cease to apply to the UK, providing synchronisation between the exit from the EU and the migrated laws coming into effect.

So, what might be the motive for fixing the date? We can only speculate. It’s reasonable to infer the government are worried, and it’s not unreasonable to consider that their concern is, at least in part, related to the validity of the UK’s Article 50 notification. But whatever the concern, by hard-wiring a date the government will be obliged by law to exit the EU on that date regardless of our Article 50 compliance. This would simplify the implementation of the government’s “Brexit at all cost” policy, but would not encourage the good-faith pursuit of the best, most prosperous and compliant Brexit for the country.

What is clear is that a fixed exit date leaves the UK with the fewest options in future circumstances that cannot be known. The government’s motives in presenting this amendment must be viewed with scepticism.

We continue to be encouraged by the activism of the groups and individuals who want to see our democracy restored. The Article 50 Challenge belongs to all of us, and we greatly appreciate your support. If the Challenge succeeds, Brexit will stop in its tracks and Parliament will be back in control. If that is an outcome you want, please continue to support the Challenge by contributing whatever amount your circumstances will permit. Small donations really add up, and all donations are accepted with gratitude.

 You can also help by emailing 5 friends, tweeting with the hashtag #a50challenge and sharing the link on Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp, and anywhere else that will get the word out there. And please talk to people. It is essential that peoples’ complacency with the Article 50 process is challenged. Help them to become educated on this important but widely misunderstood subject.



Hugh Mercer QC and Gwion Lewis announced as being instructed to represent the Article 50 Challenge

Nov. 8, 2017

We are delighted to announce that Hugh Mercer QC of Essex Court Chambers and Gwion Lewis of Landmark Chambers are instructed on this matter and that work on the pre-action protocol has commenced.

The £40,000 raised toward the initial campaign target has enabled us to commence the action. It is extremely gratifying to have reached this point, and having done so we again seek your assistance in helping us reach our stretch target of £75,000. The sooner we can do this, the sooner we can ensure our readiness to proceed without delay.

If won, the Article 50 Challenge will stop Brexit in its tracks and will put the decision to Leave or Remain back with Parliament where it belongs. If that is an outcome you want, please continue to support the Challenge by contributing whatever amount your circumstances will permit. Small donations really add up, and all donations are accepted with gratitude.

You can also help by emailing 5 friends, tweeting with the hashtag #a50challenge and sharing the link on Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp, and anywhere else that will get the word out there. And please talk to people. It is essential that peoples’ complacency with the Article 50 process is challenged. Help them to become educated on this important but widely misunderstood subject.

We've hit the £40,000 initial target early!

Nov. 2, 2017

Thank you to all our donors. With your generous support we have hit the initial target amount with more than two weeks to spare. This is not only encouraging for the Challenge but it sends a clear signal to all interested parties to say that this campaign is serious and is gathering momentum. We are proud and humbled to have moved to our next stretch fundraising target.

A meeting with our QC and junior counsel is planned for next week. We will update you as our roadmap becomes better defined.

    There are no public comments on this case page.