Robert Craig offers opinion on the ability of the executive to trigger Article 50 without needing fresh legislation.
Considerable public interest has recently been focused on the ‘trigger’ mechanism for exit from the EU which is set out in Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. Expert opinion has divided between those who believe that the power to trigger Article 50 rests with the Executive using the legal authority of the royal prerogative from the Crown with no further parliamentary involvement necessary and those who argue that fresh legislation is required to confer statutory authorisation on the Executive to do something which could render nugatory rights under the European Communities Act 1972 (‘ECA’). An ingenious third way involving section 2(2) of the ECA has also been suggested.
This note suggests that no fresh legislation is required and that the power to trigger Article 50 rests with the Executive but for very different reasons to those suggested by what might be termed the ‘prerogative’ camp. The live question…
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