Welsh ministers prepare to meddle in Supreme Court Appeal


Commercial Disputes Associate Nicola Mead-Batten looks at the case the Welsh Government is making to the Supreme Court on Brexit.

This morning, the Welsh Government will make its case to the eleven Justices sitting in the Supreme Court as to why article 50 should only be triggered by parliament. Acting on behalf of the Welsh ministers, Richard Gordon QC will argue that the triggering of article 50 changes the powers of the assembly and the Welsh Government, and therefore cannot happen without parliament’s consent.

The Welsh Government claim that a large number of its functions, which derive from EU law, will ‘be lost upon the UK’s withdrawal from the EU treaties’ and that the government’s intentions are at ‘odds with both the increasingly broad and permanent devolution arrangements within the United Kingdom and the narrow, residual nature of the prerogative power’. Mr Gordon QC is expected to enforce the principle that devolution is not some side issue in this debate.

Furthermore, the Welsh Government’s case sets out that triggering article 50 will effectively bypass rules (within the Sewel Convention) that prevent any attempt to change a law in a devolved area of policy without the consent of AMs.

Of course, the UK Government strongly contest the submissions and will advocate that it is not for the judges to ‘stray into areas of political judgment rather than legal adjudication’.

The appeal concludes on Thursday with the eagerly awaited result expected in January.

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