JR83 BREXIT CHALLENGE
PETITION TO SUPREME COURT
9th OCTOBER 2019
A woman from Derry, ciphered as the anonymous Applicant JR83 by the Court, has lodged a Petition for Leave to the Supreme Court in London asking it to adjudicate on a Brexit challenge specific to Northern Ireland.
In the Petition to the Supreme Court, lodged yesterday 8th October 2019, JR83 argues that Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay and the Westminster Cabinet have already broken the law as regards Northern Ireland by pursuing a No Deal Brexit strategy and proposing any sort of border infrastructure or checks in Northern Ireland.
The Petition for Leave to the Supreme Court is an appeal against a Northern Ireland Court of Appeal judgement which was delivered on the 27th September 2019. That judgement was an appeal from a High Court decision delivered on the 12th September 2019.
The Court of Appeal decision on the 27th September dismissed JR83’s arguments but the NI Court was split on the issue of leave to petition the Supreme Court. Ordinarily the NI Court of Appeal refuses leave to petition the Supreme Court leaving it open for the Applicant to petition directly. On the 27th September the Court of Appeal, comprising the Lord Chief Justice Declan Morgan, Lord Justice Stephens and Lord Justice Treacy disagreed on leave to petition the Supreme Court by 2 to 1. Leave was refused and JR83 yesterday petitioned the Supreme Court directly.
The Court of Appeal in 27th September 2019 judgement concluded that the consequences of a No Deal Brexit were adverse for policing and justice, the economy and the work of the North-South Ministerial bodies in Northern Ireland. At paragraph 96 of their judgement the Court stated;
“The submissions advanced by the appellants demonstrate that a UK withdrawal from the EU without an agreement would give rise to the very considerable risk of a deterioration in the security situation in Northern Ireland, an adverse impact on the Northern Ireland economy and a severe limitation on the work of the implementation bodies operating with the support of the North-South Ministerial Council.”
The Derry Applicant JR83 has now asked the Supreme Court to grant leave on the petition and hear the case as soon as possible in light of the 31st October 2019 deadline.
Acting for JR83 Patricia Coyle, Solicitor of Harte Coyle Collins, Solicitor & Advocates, Belfast, said today;
“Our legal arguments to the Supreme Court are that;
- The Prime Minster and Brexit Secretary have already broken the law as regards Northern Ireland in pursuing a No Deal Brexit strategy. Our client argues that they cannot crash out of the EU on the 31st October 2019 as they are prohibited from doing so by s.10 of the Withdrawal Act 2018. Our client submits that there has been no due consideration given to the consequences of a No Deal strategy for Northern Ireland.
- Our client also argues that in any event, the Westminster Government cannot leave the EU with or without a deal if it results in a border in Northern Ireland. The imposition of a border, border checks or any type of physical infrastructure at the border will breach s.10 of the Withdrawal Act 2018.
The Withdrawal Act 2018 became law in September 2018. Our client argues that s.10 of this Act protects the invisible border and relative peace we have enjoyed in Northern Ireland for the past 20 years.
Our client argues that the Act also protects the integrity of the Good Friday Agreement. Our Senior Counsel, Barry MacDonald QC submitted to the Court of Appeal in September that we are trying to extinguish the fuse on a stick of dynamite which has been lit and placed under the Good Friday Agreement by the current government.
This case is not about politics, it is about the rule of law and the fact that the Prime Minster and Brexit Secretary have already broken the law.
We look forward to the Supreme Court’s decision on our leave application for a hearing on the point as soon as possible given the current state of play and the 31st October 2019 deadline.”
JR83 is represented by Patricia Coyle and Nichola Harte of Harte Coyle Collins, Solicitors & Advocates, with Barry MacDonald QC, SC, Senior Counsel and Malachy McGowan BL Junior Counsel.
Harte Coyle Collins
Solicitors & Advocates
9-15 Queen Street