Article 50 challenge

The biggest question at the start of Theresa May’s management of the Brexit process, was whether she was entitled to trigger Article 50 (the notice of the UK’s formal withdrawal from the EU) without Parliament’s authorisation.

It was not only Gina Miller who issued Judicial Review proceedings challenging the Prime Minister’s sole right to do so, but also, two other claimants, including Mr Dos Santos, who was represented by Bell Yard’s client David Greene (senior partner at Edwin Coe LLP).

Our brief was to ensure Gina Miller’s arguments were not the only ones to dominate the airwaves and print media during the run up to the pivotal High Court hearing in October 2016 and subsequently when the decision was handed down on this issue of national importance. The same applied when the case went to the Supreme Court in December of the same year.

Our client, David Greene argued proper process should be followed in the triggering of Article 50. The by-passing of Parliament would be undemocratic and against the rule of law.

When the High Court agreed with the applicants, he called this “a victory for Parliament democracy over the feudal institution of Royal Prerogative”, continuing “Today some of England’s most senior judges have ruled that Parliament must be involved in this critical decision for the nation. It shows political leaders are not above the law and that Brexit must follow due process.”

The coverage achieved at this first stage ran to some 80-pages, including quotes in The Sun, The Mail and the Financial Times through to papers all around the world from Hawaii to Bury St Edmonds and on SKY and CNN online. The fact David was the first lawyer to make a statement on the High Court steps welcoming the judgment, helped ensure high-profile coverage throughout the day on the BBC amongst other outlets.

Ultimately, the Supreme Court upheld the claimants’ position and David Greene then made a further statement welcoming the judgment and the determination made “purely on the legal issues” against such a politically charged backdrop. Once again his quotes were carried by almost all national media from the FT to Metro.

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