Scotland granted intervention in Supreme Court Brexit legal case

Written by Kevin Schofield and Tom Freeman on 18 November 2016 in News

Nicola Sturgeon has won the right for the Scottish Government to intervene in Article 50 Supreme Court appeal case

Nicola Sturgeon - First Minister's office

The Supreme Court has confirmed that Scotland's senior law officer will be allowed to take part in Theresa May's legal battle over who can trigger the mechanism to leave the European Union.

The ruling means Scotland's Lord Advocate will be allowed to argue that Holyrood should be able to stop Westminster from triggering Article 50, which begins the two-year countdown to when the UK quits the European Union.

Next month's case is taking place after the UK government appealed against a High Court ruling that Theresa May will not be allowed to unilaterally decide the timescale.


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Wales and other potential interveners have also been granted the opportunity, the court has ruled.

Speaking from a summit in Germany, the Prime Minister said she still believes she will trigger the mechanism in April. 

"We stand ready to trigger Article 50 by the end of March 2017 and I want to see this as a smooth process, an orderly process, working towards a solution that's in the interests of both the UK and also in the interests of our European partners," she said.

Sturgeon has denied she wants to “veto” Britain's withdrawal from the EU, but said it would be wrong to ignore the “emphatic and clear” wish of Scots, most of whom voted Remain in the referendum.

“Triggering Article 50 will inevitably deprive Scottish people and Scottish businesses of rights and freedoms which they currently enjoy,” she said.

“It simply cannot be right that those rights can be removed by the UK Government on the say-so of a Prime Minister without parliamentary debate, scrutiny or consent.

“So legislation should be required at Westminster and the consent of the Scottish Parliament should be sought before Article 50 is triggered.”

Eleven Supreme Court judges will start hearing legal arguments on 5 December, and the case is expected to last four days.

The latest legal twist threatens to spark a constitutional crisis, and could delay Britain's eventual withdrawal from the EU.

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