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Who Pulls the Trigger? Brexit, Article 50, and the Royal Prerogative

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Does the Government have the power to take us out of the EU? Due to the United Kingdom’s uncodified constitution the answer is not entirely clear. There have been several arguments that it is Parliament that has the sole power to “pull the Article 50 trigger”. These arguments include the notion that case law tells us it is for Parliament (and not the Government) to withdraw from the EU; the European Communities Act 1972 displaced the Royal Prerogative in this area; and that because the Royal Prerogative cannot be used to abrogate rights it cannot be used to withdraw from the European Union. I argue that, contrary to these points, the Government, under the Royal Prerogative, has legal authority to start the Article 50 process.

This talk is part of the Caius MCR/SCR research talks series.

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