Representing the People’s Challenge today…

The legal team has been working overnight on the submissions to be made to the Supreme Court today, so an update summarising yesterday’s and today’s hearing will follow tomorrow.

Our lead QC,  Helen Mountfield will speak from 12.00 noon for 45 minutes  can be watched live on line. Subject to responding to the Justices’ questions, her submissions will cover:

  • who the People’s Challenge group are and the  fact that they are crowd-supported;
  •  the importance of the legal principles which divide power between the limbs of the state, and in ensure that they do not illegitimately intrude onto one another’s territory;
  • the proper,  constitutional role of Judges;
  • why  the government argument for  “untrammelled”  and “unconstrained”  prerogative power begins at the wrong starting point –  conveniently bypassing the most significant legal hurdle the government has to jump over  which is to show that there is prerogative power to take away ordinary people’s statutory citizenship rights;
  • the right starting point is a historical inquiry to establish whether the prerogative has ever gone that far in modern times  – it has not,  as the cases show;
  • there are no cases that support the Government position  that the prerogative can be used to take away statutory rights –  and the only one they have relied on, McWhirter does not actually help them;
  • triggering Article 50 would  destroy citizenship rights –  rights which the courts have recognised as fundamental;
  •  they cannot be replaced as our Annex shows;
  • the 1972 European Communities Act  does not allow citizenship  rights to be taken away by executive action –  its purpose  and language clearly shows that  it was the means for granting those rights and making EU law a source of domestic law which all UK  nationals could benefit from – and enforce;
  • if the Government is right, the consequences do not stop with Article 50 –  it will be able to  strip away almost any right by  agreeing to do so in a treaty or withdrawing from a treaty;
  • the 2015 Referendum Act does not give the Government any authority to take this sort of step – in relation Brexit or otherwise – and  if that had been Parliament’s intention it would have said  in clear language of the kind used in the  Acts of Parliament which established  the alternative voting referendum and  future referendums on a united Ireland; and
  • the People’s Challenge Respondents ask the Supreme Court uphold the Divisional Court’s judgment  not only for its determination of the issue before this court, but also because of the importance, in a democratic society, based on separation of powers and the rule of law. EU citizenship is a fundamental part of our identity. If we are to be deprived of it, our elected representatives in Parliament should, in law, be responsible for that.
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