ACTION FOR EXPAT VOTES

by Action for Expat Votes

ACTION FOR EXPAT VOTES

by Action for Expat Votes
Action for Expat Votes
Case Owner
We are a group of academics, professionals & UK citizens. British Citizens who have lived abroad for over 15 years have been denied a vote and may lose rights if Brexit goes ahead.
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Action for Expat Votes
Case Owner
We are a group of academics, professionals & UK citizens. British Citizens who have lived abroad for over 15 years have been denied a vote and may lose rights if Brexit goes ahead.
Pledge now

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Latest: Dec. 7, 2018

THE APPEAL

Julien Fouchet has provided us with the skeleton of the appeal which was lodged on 30th November.  The 5th passage is worth noting:  

Denying any possibility of action by European citizens...

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THIS COULD BE ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT BREXIT LEGAL CHALLENGES TO DATE, NOW IN THE EU COURT IN LUXEMBOURG.

Millions of UK Citizens who have lived abroad for over 15 years were denied a vote on their future in the EU referendum. This is illegal under EU law.  Equal treatment among European citizens is a fundamental principle laid down in the European Treaties and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. 

Voting rights for all UK citizens regardless of time lived abroad were promised by David Cameron in 2015, and again by the May Government in October 2016, with the promise that they would be given prior to the next General Election. These promises remain unfulfilled.  

We are ACTION FOR EXPAT VOTES and we supported the first legal challenge in the EU Court in July 2017 on behalf of eleven representative appellants including unstoppable 96 year old WW2 war veteran Harry Shindler. 

 

The case had its first hearing before the General Court of the European Union in Luxembourg on 5th July 2018, by a panel of no less than five judges, which reflected the importance of the case as perceived in the legal corridors in Luxembourg.  The judges considered the detailed arguments over two hours. On 26th November the Court gave its ruling,which was disappointing.  "Catch 22" one might say.   It can be read in full HERE.

To summarise the ruling: The service of Article 50 Notice and the negotiations have not resulted in any loss of citizenship rights since the final agreement is not yet signed and there has been no 'final act'. The Article 50 Notice is only 'preparatory'.  So the court cannot make any ruling until the rights have been lost (!). 

By that time the UK will be out of the EU. Catch 22 indeed. 

Note however that the ruling implicitly admits that the Article 50 Notice itself is NOT a final act, merely preparatory. That has since been confirmed by the Wightman case before the CJEU (led by Jo Maugham) which confirmed that the  PM's Notice can be unilaterally withdrawn before 29 March 2019. 

It is astonishing that the judges made no mention of the core claim of the case: the discrimination against those UK citizens who were denied a vote in the 2016 referendum.  Surely this is matter of EU law in itself , and should not depend on proof of loss of other rights?

As a result, Julian Fouchet lodged an Appeal on 30th November with a request for urgent consideration, We await the response. 

This challenge seeks to confirm that the EU referendum result was not a basis for a constitutional decision, that the ‘Brexit’ process must be stopped, and another vote must be held which must include the estimated 3 million deprived Britons.

The funding target has been raised to £60,000 to provide funds to fight this crucial stage.

PLEASE DONATE NOW - EVERY DONATION WILL HELP.  THIS COULD BE ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT LEGAL CHALLENGES TO DATE.

Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/actionforexpatvotes/

Twitter:   @actionforexpat

 #EUsaveUK

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Update 11

Action for Expat Votes

Dec. 7, 2018

THE APPEAL

Julien Fouchet has provided us with the skeleton of the appeal which was lodged on 30th November.  The 5th passage is worth noting:  

Denying any possibility of action by European citizens, as the contested act does not lay down any directive safeguarding their European citizenship, amounts to disregarding the fundamental status of Community nationals, and all the more so when those same citizens could not speak in the 2016 referendum or elect their representatives because of exercise of their freedom of movement within the European Union (2).

The target has been raised to £60,000 to cover the estimated costs of the Appeal. Please support generously and share to others. 

French (the original) 

  • En premier lieu, le Tribunal est parti du principe qu’il s’agit d’une décision d’autorisation des négociations « classique », en se référant à l’article 218 TFUE, et a qualifié l’acte contesté d’acte préparatoire.
  • Or c’est un acte réglementaire à valeur normative dans le cadre de la procédure de l’article 50 TUE à deux égards puisque cet acte transforme tout d’abord une procédure nationale (lettre d’intention de retrait) en une procédure européenne relevant de l’article 50 TUE et qu’il autorise ensuite une procédure de négociations sur la base de directives pouvant aboutir à un non accord et donc à l’absence de mesure d’exécution (1).
  • En deuxième lieu, à supposer que l’acte contesté ne soit qu’exclusivement un acte préparatoire, les juges de première instance ont créé à tort une distinction notable avec les particuliers quant aux effets juridiques de ce dernier laquelle distinction ne résulte d’aucun article des Traités.
  • Le Tribunal a reconnu qu’un acte explicite d’autorisation des négociations est un acte préparatoire produisant des effets de droit pouvant être contesté et annulé par une institution européenne (CJUE 4 septembre 2014, Commission/Conseil, C-114/12).
  • Nier toute possibilité d’action des citoyens européens, quant l’acte contesté ne fixe aucune directive de sauvegarde de leur citoyenneté européenne, revient à méconnaître le statut fondamental des ressortissants communautaires et ce d’autant plus lorsque ces mêmes citoyens n’ont pas pu s’exprimer lors du référendum de 2016 ou élire leurs représentants à cause de leur liberté de circulation au sein de l’Union européenne (2).
  • En troisième lieu, l’autorisation des négociations a affecté directement la situation des 13 requérants européens britanniques, avant le 30 mars 2019, tant au niveau du droit de vote et d’éligibilité, du droit de pétition, d’initiative citoyenne européenne, de médiation que de droits sociaux mais également moralement (3).
  • Ces trois erreurs de droit sont développées ci-après.

English (translated) 

1. In the first place, the Court of First Instance assumed that it was a decision to authorise  "classic" negotiations, with reference to Article 218 TFEU, and described the disputed act as preparatory act.

2. It is a regulatory act with normative value in the context of the procedure of Article 50 TEU in two respects, since that act first transforms a national procedure (letter of intent to withdraw) into a European procedure under Article 50 TEU and subsequently authorizes a negotiation procedure on the basis of directives which may lead to a disagreement and thus to the absence of an implementing measure (1).

3. In the second place, assuming that the contested act is only a preparatory act, the trial judges wrongly drew a significant distinction with the individuals as to the legal effects of the latter which distinction does not result from any article of the Treaties.

4. The General Court has recognized that an explicit act authorizing negotiations is a preparatory act producing legal effects that may be challenged and annulled by a European institution (ECJ 4 September 2014, Commission / Council, C-114/12) .

5. Denying any possibility of action by European citizens, as the contested act does not lay down any directive safeguarding their European citizenship, amounts to disregarding the fundamental status of Community nationals, and all the more so when those same citizens do not could not speak in the 2016 referendum or elect their representatives because of exercise of their freedom of movement within the European Union (2).

6. Thirdly, the authorization of the negotiations directly affected the situation of the 13 British European applicants, before 30 March 2019, in terms of the right to vote and to stand for election, the right to petition and the European citizens' initiative. , of mediation as of social rights but also morally (3).

7. These three errors of law are developed below.

The full appeal is much longer but will not be published yet.

Richard Bird for the AFEV team.


Update 10

Action for Expat Votes

Nov. 30, 2018

GOING TO APPEAL - we need your help

Julien Fouchet will be submitting an urgent appeal to the Court against its ruling of 26 November within the next few days.  We need to raise more funds. The target will be increased to £60,000. Please support if you can, and share this call for funds with others.   Thanks from all at the AFEV team.  Harry Shindler never gives up, nor will we! 

Update 9

Action for Expat Votes

Nov. 29, 2018

The 26th November Ruling.

The ruling given on 26th November in Luxembourg is disappointing.  "Catch 22" one might say.   It can be read in full HERE.

To summarise: the service of Article 50 Notice and the negotiations have not resulted in any loss of citizen rights since the final agreement is not yet signed and there has been no 'final act'. The Article 50 Notice is only 'preparatory'.  So the court cannot make any ruling until the rights have been lost (!). 

By that time the UK will be out of the EU. Catch 22 indeed. 

Note however that the ruling implicitly admits that the Article 50 Notice itself is NOT a final act, merely preparatory. That may be of some help to the Maugham case currently being heard in the CJEU.

It is astonishing that the judges made no mention of the core claim of the case: the discrimination against those UK citizens who were denied a vote in the 2016 referendum.  Surely this is matter of EU law in itself , and should not depend on proof of loss of other rights?

Julien Fouchet is now looking into possible grounds for an urgent appeal. We will update on this as soon as possible.


Richard Bird

for the AFEV team.

Update 8

Action for Expat Votes

Oct. 31, 2018

AT LAST : 26 NOVEMBER IS THE DATE.

Avocat Julien Fouchet has just been notified that the EU court hearing and decision will be on 26th November. It could be momentous.  

Thanks once again to all our donors and supporters for helping this case get to its final hearing. It has been a long battle but we sincerely hope it will be worth it in the end.

Richard Bird, for the AFEV team.

Update 7

Action for Expat Votes

July 30, 2018

A further update August 2018

Case lawyer Julien Fouchet reports that the next hearing, due for October, will result in one of the following outcomes: 

a. Rejection of the case on grounds of inadmissibility.  He will then consider an appeal.  

b. Acceptance of the admissibility of the case, with a further hearing date set to hear more detailed argument.  

c. Acceptance, and a hearing on the spot, which will result in a judgment soon afterwards.  If it goes against us, he will consider an appeal.  If the judgment is favourable, it will be momentous.  

The case is reported on once again in the August edition of the Connexion newspaper.

WE ARE ALL OPTIMISTIC!  Thanks to all for the unfailing support, on behalf of Harry and the three million other Britons denied a vote.

Richard Bird, for the AFEV team.

Update 6

Action for Expat Votes

July 8, 2018

Update on the 5 July Hearing - published in Connexion

Julien Fouchet has given a detailed report on the hearing which has been published in the Connexion newspaper.  In brief: It went well, and a decision is expected in September.  We all remain very optimistic!

The full report is viewable at: https://www.connexionfrance.com/French-news/Brexit/French-lawyer-speaks-after-EU-court-case-hearing-to-stop-Brexit

Update 5

Action for Expat Votes

July 5, 2018

Update on the 5 July Hearing in Luxembourg



5 July.   This is a very brief preliminary update on today's court appearance.  The hearing lasted over two hours.  The five EU judges are duly considering the arguments presented and will announce a date for a decision. We have no idea yet how long. There was no outright refusal. That is a very positive sign.  A fuller report will come from Julien in the next few days.  He sounded pleased with the day.  It is good news so far!

It  should be noted that it is now far too late under EU court rules for the UK Government (or any other person) to request intervention in the case. The matter is entirely in the hands of the EU judges.  Let us hope they show more wisdom and better judgement than our politicians.


Our aim is to WIN this case.  And win it we will.


Update 4

Action for Expat Votes

July 3, 2018

780,000 UK voters excluded in the EU alone. 3 Million worldwide.

Harry Shindler fought for his country and our freedom. We are fighting for his rights.   And for the rights of 3 million others. 5th July in the EU court.


Update 3

Action for Expat Votes

July 1, 2018

Professor A C Grayling expresses support

Thank you Professor Grayling for your generous donation and your support

Update 2

Action for Expat Votes

June 29, 2018

A wonderful message of support from Liz Webster (Article 50 Challenge)

Sent out today by Liz Webster to all A50 supporters.

Update from Article 50 Challenge
 
ACTION REQUIRED!

Next week, on 5 July, five judges in the EU General Court will hear from a group of expats who were disenfranchised from voting in the 2016 referendum.

This case has the potential to force the UK to restart the Brexit process from scratch, and to vote again including those disenfranchised in June 2016.

Some say they are uncomfortable with any intervention from the EU, fearing it might inflame leavers.  Whilst this is a concern, we should not fear appeasing what is fundamentally wrong.  We signed up to certain values when we joined the EU over 40 years ago, but seemingly overnight we have descended into fear, muddled thinking, and very poor decisions.  As we witness the rise of populist extremism around the world, and the fixation of our main political leaders on ensuring Brexit happens regardless of the damage, we have a duty to explore every possible avenue to get back control.  

If this involves a further referendum on the deal, even if Leave were to win, it would at least give the country the opportunity to do things properly, instead of the current chaotic shambles.

Please help to fund and spread awareness of this crucial Brexit court case - the first to reach the European Courts.
https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/action-for-expat-votes/

In the meantime, the #A50challenge appeal was lodged with the court last week and we will write to you in full early next week with general information about our grounds. We expect to hear back from the Court of Appeal sometime in August.

Update 1

Action for Expat Votes

June 25, 2018

Over halfway there but we stilll need more funds.

Many thanks to all our wonderful donors and supporters.

A reminder: The case is not just about UK citizens abroad.  The EU court will consider these questions:

>  Can Theresa May take the UK out of Euratom?

> Was the EU referendum illegal? 

> Must there be a new vote?

> Is Article 50 reversible?

13 days to go. We need your help to reach the target by 5 July. Please share everywhere.

The goal is so close.  We must never give up!

Richard Bird

#EUsaveUK

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