LONDON Jan 12 A crowdfunded legal challenge to
determine whether Britain's divorce from the European Union can
be reversed once it has been triggered will be launched in
Dublin by the end of January, the lawyer behind the case said on
British Prime Minister Theresa May says she will invoke
Article 50 of the EU's Lisbon Treaty by the end of March,
triggering two years of formal divorce talks.
Lawyers for the British government have said that, once
started, the process is irrevocable, but some EU leaders say
Britain can change its mind.
Jolyon Maugham, a London tax lawyer, is taking legal action
to seek a ruling from the European Court of Justice on whether
Britain can unilaterally revoke Article 50 without the consent
the other 27 EU states.
He said "a letter before action" would be issued against the
Irish state on Friday and that legal proceedings would begin in
Dublin's High Court on or before Jan. 27.
"If we change our minds we must be able to withdraw the
notice without needing the consent of the other 27 Member
States," Maugham said in a statement.
"I want to establish clarity for British voters and deliver
sovereignty to the British Parliament over the question of its
future relationship with its biggest trading partner."
He said the challenge, in which several unnamed UK
politicians would act as plaintiffs, would also seek
clarification of what rights they would lose as EU citizens when
Article 50 was triggered and when they would lose these rights.
Their case is that Britain's exclusion from EU Council
meetings since the Brexit vote would in contravention of
European treaties unless Article 50 had already been triggered.
"Litigating this matter before a UK court is impossible or
non-justiciable given the UK's exclusion from the European
Council meetings in question," the letter from Maugham's legal
Maugham, whose supporters raised 70,000 pounds ($90,000) in
48 hours last month to fund their challenge, told Reuters in an
interview in December that his case would not stop Brexit but
would allow for a change of heart if Britons who voted to leave
the bloc had a change of heart.
Britain's Supreme Court is expected to rule in the next
couple of weeks on whether May can trigger Article 50 without
parliament's approval or the assent of devolved assemblies in
Northern Ireland and Scotland.
Next week London's High Court is due to hear a challenge on
whether leaving the EU means Britain automatically leaves the
European Economic Area (EEA) which allows access to the single
market and free movement of goods, capital, services and people.
(Reporting by Michael Holden; editing by Guy Faulconbidge)