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Legal challenge to Brexit struck out by High Court

Proceedings were aimed at establishing if UK could halt Brexit after triggering article 50

British prime minister Theresa May: triggered article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. Photograph: Chris J Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

A legal challenge initiated in the Irish courts with a view to halting Brexit is not proceeding and has been struck out on consent.

The president of the High Court, Mr Justice Peter Kelly, was told on Monday by Maurice Collins SC, for the State, and Martin Hayden SC, for the plaintiffs, the action could be struck out on consent of the sides with no order.

The judge struck out the case which was initiated by a British barrister, Jolyon Maugham QC, along with Northern Ireland Green Party leader and MLA, Steven Agnew, Jonathan Bartley, co-leader of the Green Party of England and Wales, and Green Party MEP for the south-east of England, Keith Taylor.

The proceedings were aimed at establishing if Britain can halt Brexit after triggering Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty.

The plaintiffs wanted the High Court to refer issues in the case for determination by the Court of Justice of the EU.


They sought various declarations or interpretations of the Treaties of the EU, including a declaration that article 50, once triggered, can be unilaterally revoked by the UK government.

Ireland and the Attorney General had entered a conditional and without prejudice appearance before the High Court to contest the action and they asked that the issue of jurisdiction to be decided first.

Mr Justice Kelly earlier this month had fixed May 31st to make directions for resolution of various issues related to jurisdiction. He previously remarked, if the State succeeded in what it described as its “knockout blow” to the challenge, that would be the end of the matter.

Among the issues raised by the State were whether the High Court here had any power to grant the relief sought against the State defendants and why the case was brought here.

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