Brexit Opponents Abandon ‘Escape Clause’ Case in Irish CourtsBy
Lawyer says concerned about timing, costs of potential case
Maugham had wanted the case referred to EU Court of Justice
A lawyer and a trio of Green party politicians abandoned an Irish lawsuit seeking to give the U.K. a last-minute Brexit escape clause if public sympathy turned against leaving the European Union during two years of negotiations.
“It is clear that Ireland does not want a reference to the Court of Justice in Luxembourg of the questions in the proceedings,” tax lawyer Jolyon Maugham, who has been a vocal Brexit opponent, said in a posting on his website on Monday. “This stance surprised me.”
Maugham filed the suit in Dublin, seeking a declaration that Article 50 “is revocable at the discretion" of any EU member state, according to an April 1 statement on his website. Maugham said previously that his ultimate goal was to get the case referred to the EU Court of Justice in Luxembourg.
Maugham said Monday that the timing of the suit meant the questions raised by it might not be answered much before October 2018 -- when both the U.K. and the EU say talks on Brexit need to be finished.
The lawyer also said that he was concerned that costs involved in the case could spiral.
“I do not want to seek to raise such a substantial sum of money unless I can be satisfied that to spend it for the stated object is prudent ” he said.
Maugham was joined in the lawsuit by Northern Irish politician Steven Agnew, England and Wales Green Party co-leader Jonathan Bartley and Keith Taylor, a Green member of the European Parliament.
The government had brushed aside the basis for Maugham’s claim, saying that there will be no backing out of Brexit.
— With assistance by Stephanie Bodoni