UK could remain in EU without consent of other member states, finds ECJ advocate general

Written by Liam Kirkaldy on 4 December 2018 in News

The written opinion, which is non-binding, will be followed by a final ruling from the court at a later date

European Court of Justice - Image credit: PA

The UK can unilaterally revoke triggering Article 50 under certain conditions, according to the European Court of Justice's advocate general.

The written opinion, which is non-binding, will be followed by a final ruling from the court at a later date. The ECJ tends to follow the advocate general's stance in its final rulings.

The decision, which stems from a case brought by a cross-party group of Scottish politicians, means the UK could decide to remain in the EU without the consent of other member states.

In an opinion issued this morning the ECJ Advocate General said: “The Court of Justice should, in its future judgment, declare that Article 50 TEU allows the unilateral revocation of the notification of the intention to withdraw from the EU, until such time as the withdrawal agreement is formally concluded, provided that the revocation has been decided upon in accordance with the Member State’s constitutional requirements, is formally notified to the European Council and does not involve an abusive practice.”

The opinion adds that: “to make the possibility of revocation conditional upon the adoption of a unanimous decision of the European Council would be incompatible with Article 50 TEU.”

Labour MEP Catherine Stihler said: "This is a landmark opinion from the Advocate General.

"He has made clear that the UK can stop the ticking clock of Brexit before it is too late.

"If judges accept his opinion, the UK will have the option of halting the process, and will be able to offer the chance to keep the best deal we have as a member of the EU through a People's Vote - rather than choosing between Theresa May's bad deal or a catastrophic no-deal scenario.

"I pay tribute to Andy Wightman for leading on this important issue, which the UK Government had tried to stymie at every turn. There is now light at the end of the tunnel."

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