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Northern Irish court dismisses challenge to Government Brexit strategy

12 September 2019

A legal challenge in the High Court of Northern Ireland to the UK Government's Brexit strategy has been dismissed as not a matter for the court.

In three joined cases the applicants claimed that a no-deal Brexit on 31 October would undermine agreements involving the UK and Irish Governments made as part of the peace process and which now help secure cross-border cooperation.

Today however Lord Justice McCloskey found for the UK Government in ruling: "I consider the characterisation of the subject matter of these proceedings as inherently and unmistakably political to be beyond plausible dispute.

"Virtually all of the assembled evidence belongs to the world of politics, both national and supra-national."

Unlike the proceedings in Scotland and England decided this week, the case did not directly consider the legality of the Prime Minister's request to the Queen to prorogue Parliament. The judge excluded such a challenge from these proceedings because the issue formed the "centrepiece" of the proceedings in the other jurisdictions. It is still expected to come before the UK Supreme Court in a conjoined hearing next week along with these cases.

First however it has to go to the Northern Ireland Court of Appeal, which has said it will hear any appeals tomorrow.

Ciaran O'Hare, solicitor for Raymond McCord, one of the applicants, said after the decision that in the absence of a Stormont Executive, the most important way Northern Ireland could have a voice was for people to take action through the courts.

 

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