Brexit: High Court Rules that the UK Government Cannot Notify the UK’s Withdrawal From the EU Without the Prior Approval of Parliament

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP - November 3, 2016

Following the referendum vote on June 23, 2016, the UK government proposed to notify the European Council by March 31, 2017 under article 50(2) of the Treaty on European Union of the UK’s decision to leave the EU.
The UK government’s proposal to give this notification without the prior approval of Parliament was challenged in the High Court in London.  Judgment was given by the Court today, November 3.

The Court held that the UK government does not have the ability to use its residual powers under UK constitutional law (known as “prerogative powers”) to notify the UK’s withdrawal from the EU without the prior approval of Parliament.