The Supreme Court has ruled that the Government needs parliament's approval before article 50 can be triggered to start the UK's departure from the EU.
It was decided by the justices that the Government's executive powers, inherited through the royal prerogative, were not sufficient to uproot citizens' rights gained through parliamentary legislation such as the European Communities Act 1972.
The decision places the process of Brexit through parliament, handing over the authority to sanction the UK's withdrawal to MPs and peers.
The Supreme Court also ruled that the UK Government does not have to consult devolved assemblies in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales before triggering article 50, which is not the usual convention.
Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury, reading the summary stated:
“The 1972 [European Communities] Act provides that, whenever EU institutions make new laws, those new laws become part of UK law. The 1972 act, therefore makes EU law an independent source of UK law, until parliament decides otherwise.
Therefore, when the UK withdraws from the EU treaties, a source of UK law will be cut off. Further, certain rights enjoyed by UK citizens will be changed. Therefore, the government cannot trigger article 50 without parliament authorising that course.”
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