As we approach the festive season, I realised that I haven’t stocked up on conversational ammunition yet. With a year like 2016, I will do whatever I can not to talk about the US Election; including talking about the other sad elephant, Brexit. This week the Supreme Court will hear the government’s appeal of the decision to – well, here’s where it gets a little complicated, which is why I’ve made you a little crib sheet you can read in the taxi on the way to your asshole colleague’s Christmas party. She didn’t have that £50,000 extension built for nothing!
What’s an Appeal?
An Appeal is a process by which a decision of a lower court is reviewed by a higher court.
What’s this one about?
The issue at the heart of this appeal is whether or not the government can use Royal Prerogative to notify the European Council of its intention to leave the EU by triggering Article 50.
What’s ‘Royal Prerogative’
Royal Prerogative, or Crown Prerogative, is the term used to describe the powers that the Monarch (aka Queen) or Government ministers may use to make decisions without the consent of the Commons or Lords (www.parliament.uk)
You do, probably, especially if you’re a legal person (e.g., an individual or company) who will lose their rights if/when Article 50 is triggered. In addition to the petitioners in the present case, the Court will also hear submissions from the governments of Wales and Scotland on how the Article 50 notice should function in their respective devolved governments.
Who’s for it?
The decision up for appeal was made unanimously by the High Court of England and Wales; Lord Chief Justice; Master of the Rolls; and Lord Justice Sales – leading judge on public law (aka the law that regulates what public bodies – government, police, council, etc.) can or can’t do. Supporters for the Appeal think it’s not right for the judges to say what Parliament can or cannot do.
The irony of course, is that here the judges have insisted on being impartial to the views of the public and avoiding overstepping their remit (both of which are what they are supposed to be doing), and in doing so, have made Leavers foam at the mouth because they are ‘ignoring the will of the people’
TL/DR: The Supreme Court Appeal this week focuses on whether the High Court’s decision that the government should not be able to use Royal Prerogative to restrict or repeal the rights of legal persons.