Funds sought for Brexit court case in Ireland

British and Irish flags Image copyright PA

A British lawyer has launched a drive to raise funds for a court case in Ireland to find out if the process of Britain leaving the EU could be halted.

Jolyon Maugham QC wants the case to go to the European Court of Justice for a ruling on whether British MPs could reject a Brexit deal after it is done.

He wants to raise £70,000 in donations to start proceedings.

The case will also raise the possibility that Article 50 has in fact been triggered already.

Mr Maugham says he anticipates that UK MEPs will be the plaintiffs in the court action against the Irish government and EU institutions for alleged breaches of Article 50.

If it has already been triggered, he argues, the Commission is in breach of its duties by not starting Brexit negotiations.

However, if Article 50 has not yet been triggered, he argues that the EU Council and Irish state are in breach of their duties by excluding the UK from Council meetings.

If the funding is gathered, the Irish, and potentially the EU courts will be asked whether parliament should be having a say on the final deal negotiated between the EU and Britain.

By bringing this case in the Irish Republic, Mr Maugham believes the EU's highest court in Luxembourg will have to consider the issue.

'Deliver certainty'

Mr Maugham said: "Everyone - those who voted Leave and Remain; the people and Government of Ireland - deserves to know the answer to these questions. People must plan their lives. Businesses need certainty to invest.

"The people of Ireland are entitled to a Government that can work for the best possible future for Ireland. It's right that we all have the maximum certainty that the law can give.

"Referring these questions to the Court of Justice of the European Union is the only way to deliver that certainty."

BBC diplomatic correspondent James Landale said: "The government's been arguing in the Supreme Court all week that parliament should not have the right to decide when Brexit negotiations should start.

"Now it's facing a second legal challenge to see if parliament has the right to decide when the talks should stop."

More on this story