High Court of United Kingdom on 3 November 2016 ruled that Government does not have the power to invoke Article 50 of the European Union treaty. It held that Prime Minister Theresa May can’t start the BREXIT process without approval from Parliament. Britain's plans to leave the European Union hit a large speed bump when the High Court ruled that the Government cannot start exit negotiations without a vote inParliament. High Court’s decision came while hearing a plea of a group of British citizens who opposes BREXIT. The court’s ruling also opens a major constitutional battle over the balance of power between Parliament and the government.
Earlier, Prime Minister May has said that she will use centuries-old powers known as royal prerogative to invoke Article 50 of the EU treaty, which launches two years of exit negotiations, by the end of March 2017. The powers - traditionally held by the monarch but now used by politicians - enable decisions about international treaties and other issues to be made without a vote of Parliament.
The government has said that high court’s decision will be challenged in the Supreme Court. It also said that the ruling could frustrate its timetable for BREXIT. The Supreme Court is expected to hear the Government's appeal in December 2016.
BREXIT Secretary, David Davis said that 17.4 million Leave voters had given the government the biggest mandate in history to leave the EU.
What if Supreme Court rejects government’s appeal?
If government’s appeal is rejected by the Supreme Court than the Prime Minister May could trigger a snap election to seek a bigger parliamentary mandate. The mandate would help her to carry out Britain’s plan to exit from European Union. Currently, she has a thin majority of 15 lawmakers.
People of Britain in a referendum on 24 June 2016 voted in favour of leaving European Union (EU). The referendum ‘to leave’ or ‘to be a member’ of EU saw 51.9% votes in favour compared to 48.1% in against. Referendum turnout was higher than at 2015 general election.
Northern Ireland, London and Scotland voted strongly to stay back with the EU while the Wales and the English shires backed Britain exit (Brexit) from the EU.