UK can withdraw unilaterally its Brexit Letter written under Article 50

04 Dec 2018

Advocate General Campos S├ínchez-Bordona; Advocate General to the European Court of Justice has given his opinion on whether the UK can unilaterally withdraw its Article 50 letter, and it is “yes, UK can revoke its Art 50 letter without reference to any other EU state or institution”.

The Court of Session, Inner House, First Division (UK), referred the question of unilateral withdrawal of the Article 50 letter to the ECJ, the highest court in Europe. The precise terms of the referral was “whether a Member State which has notified the European Council of its intention to withdraw from the EU in accordance with Article 50 TEU may unilaterally revoke that notification and, if so, subject to what conditions”.

The reader will recall that the letter under Article 50 TFEU is that document which triggers a country’s exit from the EU.

It is worth noting that the UK Government sought to argue that the referral was inadmissible. Its argument was that the question of withdrawal of the Article 50 letter was hypothetical. The UK Government also argued that there was neither any indication or intention on the part of the UK Government or Parliament to revoke the letter.

The AG disagreed. He argued:

  1. the dispute or question was of obvious practical importance and not premature, academic or superfluous, and
  2. that the power to interpret EU law, including Art 50 lies within the final and definitive purview of the ECJ

The AG, having disposed of the jurisdictional points then gave his substantive opinion:

  1. that the ECJ, should, if asked, judge that the power to withdraw/ revoke the Article 50 Letter was unilateral.
  2. that the power to revoke was available to the UK at any time until the withdrawal agreement is formally concluded – ie UK Parliament ratifies the withdrawal agreement, provided
  3. the revocation is done in accordance with the UK’s constitutional arrangements.

The AG’s opinion is not binding on the court. But it does open the possibility to Parliament to reject the deal on the table and to vote to revoke the Article 50 were it so minded. If the ECJ then followed the AGs opinion (and such tends to be the case) then the UK would be back in the EU with all its opt outs and benefits (rebates etc) it currently enjoys.

A tempting prospect for some MPs, perhaps?

Further reading

Employer's question: how to effectively deal with stress related sickness in lockdown

Blog
13/04/2021
There are a variety of contributing factors caused by the pandemic that have seen a rise in stress related claims at work, but how can employers deal with this more effectively?
Read more Read

Use of statutory demand to make company insolvent suspended until June

Blog, Legal Updates
08/04/2021
Cheraine Williams looks at more temporary Covid-driven measures that will protect businesses and tenants from possible legal action
Read more Read

New guidance issued for valuation of flats and investigating fire safety

Blog, Legal Updates
07/04/2021
Cheraine Williams looks a the current situation facing leaseholders looking to sell or re-finance their property; will new guidance provide clarity?
Read more Read

Government sets new energy targets for domestic and commercial buildings

Blog, Legal Updates
06/04/2021
UK law requires net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050; new rules and standards for heating and powering buildings will have a significant impact
Read more Read
  • Brighton Office

    1 Jubilee Street

    Brighton

    East Sussex

    BN1 1GE

  • Gatwick Office

    Griffin House

    135 High Street

    Crawley

    West Sussex

    RH10 1DQ

  • Guildford Office

    Wonersh House

    The Guildway

    Old Portsmouth Road

    Guildford

    Surrey

    GU3 1LR

  • Horsham Office

    Ridgeland House

    15 Carfax

    Horsham

    West Sussex

    RH12 1DY

  • London Office

    6 New Street Square

    New Fetter Lane

    London

    EC4A 3BF

  • Get in touch