The House of Commons’ (HoC) library has published the follow briefing papers:

  • Brexit reading list: legal and constitutional issues; and
  • Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) and the EU Court.

The Brexit reading list paper on legal and constitutional issues provides a list of useful publications on the following issues:

  • the UK’s EU referendum;
  • constitutional and legal issues surrounding UK withdrawal from the EU;
  • the triggering of Article 50 of the TEU, which will start the withdrawal process;
  • the role of the UK Parliament in triggering the process and in the negotiations;
  • the possibility of a second referendum on a withdrawal agreement;
  • how the UK Government and Parliament deal with EU legislation;
  • the impact of Brexit on the rest of the EU;
  • the UK’s future relations with the EU; and
  • issues for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The Brexit briefing paper on Article 50 TEU and the EU Court discusses how the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) might be involved in interpreting the process for withdrawal from the EU. It also covers the question that could potentially be referred to the CJEU about whether the Article 50 notification could be revoked.

After the High Court judgment in Miller on 3 November 2016 the Court recorded it as common ground that the Article 50 notification is irrevocable. Therefore there was no ruling on irrevocability. The Government has appealed the High Court’s decision to the Supreme Court. The HoC briefing paper states that in its skeleton grounds for appeal the Government does not mention irrevocability.

The briefing paper also notes that there is a general principle of international law, set out in Article 68 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties that a notification of intention to withdraw from a Treaty “may be revoked at any time before it takes effect”. The TEU is silent on this matter. The HoC briefing paper notes that “although the parties to the Miller case assumed that notice of withdrawal is irrevocable, there are possible arguments, and a preponderance of academic opinion, to the contrary.”

Read our blog post regarding the High Court ruling on the Article 50 notification on our Inside Brexit law blog

View Brexit: Article 50 TEU and the EU Court, 14 November 2016

View Brexit reading list: legal and constitutional issues, 11 November 2016