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Court dismisses legal challenge to EEA withdrawal

Andrew Sheftel
February 03, 2017

Posted in UK and EU legal framework

The High Court has dismissed a legal challenge regarding the question of the UK’s anticipated departure from the single market and European Economic Area (EEA).

It had been argued by the claimants that quite apart from any Article 50 notice of the UK’s intention to leave the EU, a separate notice must to be given under Article 127 of the Agreement on the European Economic Area. Article 127 provides that:

Each Contracting Party may withdraw from this Agreement provided it gives at least twelve months' notice in writing to the other Contracting Parties.

Immediately after the notification of the intended withdrawal, the other Contracting Parties shall convene a diplomatic conference in order to envisage the necessary modifications to bring to the Agreement.”

However, the judicial review application was dismissed on the ground that the application was premature.  In other words, because no decision had been taken by the Government as to the legal route to leaving the EEA, there was no decision which was capable of being judicially reviewed.

The Court’s ruling suggests that the application could perhaps be renewed in due course depending on the approach the Government adopts in relation to this issue.  As a result, this might not be the end for this particular question.

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