Photo taken on Jan. 29, 2016 shows the UK and EU flags outside the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.[Photo/Xinhua]
The highest law court in Britain, the Supreme Court, announced on Tuesday that the crucial Brexit hearing will start on December 5 in London and last four days.
Officials set the timetable after confirming that the court had now received a formal notification of the British government’s intention to appeal last Thursday’s decision in the High Court over the triggering of Britain’s exit process from the European Union.
The High Court ruled that British Prime Minister Theresa May’s government cannot use a royal prerogative to trigger the so-called Article 50 mechanism that starts the Brexit process. The three judges instead said the parliament had to be involved in the process.
An official at the Supreme Court said the permission for the government appeal has been granted by a panel of three justices, Lord Neuberger, Lord Mance and Lord Kerr, and the case can now proceed to a full hearing.
It also emerged Tuesday that the regional government of Scotland will seek to oppose the British government in the Supreme Court. Scotland’s most senior law officer, Lord Advocate, is to apply to be heard in the case.
In the June 23 referendum, the majority of people in Scotland voted to remain in the EU, but the overall vote across Britain was in favor of leaving by a 52-to-48 margin.
A spokesman at the Supreme Court in London said four days, December 5 to 8, have been earmarked for the appeal hearing.
The spokesman added: “The exact number of days and timings will depend on further submissions received from the parties on the precise legal arguments to be considered, the number of interveners and whether any other related cases are joined to this one. However, at this stage we expect the hearing may well last all four days from Monday 5 December.”
The lead claimant in the case against the government next month will be investment fund manager Gina Miller, one of the individuals who won in the High Court case last week. She has insisted that she took the case to court because she believes the parliament should trigger Article 50.
Theresa May has indicated that she believes the government can start the process without seeking a decision in the parliament.
The fear is that if the decision has to be put before the pre-remain houses of Parliament, some politicians will attempt to sabotage the process to keep Britain in the European Union.
The Supreme Court also confirmed that all 11 justices will sit on the panel considering this appeal, which will be chaired by Lord Neuberger, president of the Supreme Court. It will be the first time in history all justices have sat together, a sign of the significance of the appeal hearing.
The Supreme Court will sit in its largest courtroom and make available a live video feed in the other two courtrooms in the building to enable as many members of the public as possible to observe proceedings.
Like all Supreme Court proceedings, the appeal will be live streamed on the court’s website.
After hearing legal submissions and arguments, the 11 judges will reserve their decision and expect to announce the result early in the new year.
Prime Minister May has already said she still aims to stick with her timetable to trigger Article 50 by the end of next March.