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Crowdfunded lawyer drops case over Brexit U-turn

Tuesday, May 30, 2017 - 13:50

Jolyon Maugham.jpg
British lawyer Jolyon Maugham launched the legal action in Ireland in January after raising more than £70,000 (S$124,327.30) through the crowdfunding website Crowdjustice.

[Dublin] A campaigning lawyer seeking a ruling from the European Court of Justice on whether Britain can reverse Brexit announced Monday that he is dropping the case.

British lawyer Jolyon Maugham launched the legal action in Ireland in January after raising more than £70,000 (S$124,327.30) through the crowdfunding website Crowdjustice.

The Brexit critic was hoping to seek clarity on whether the UK could reverse Article 50 in future if a government were to decide that leaving the European Union would not, after all, be in its best interests.

Article 50 is the formal procedure for leaving the EU which Prime Minister Theresa May invoked in late March.

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"With regret, we have agreed between us and with Ireland that the litigation should be discontinued," Mr Maugham said in a statement, referring to the three other plaintiffs in the case, all British Green Party politicians.

He said the decision was linked to the hefty costs of the litigation process and the amount of time it would likely take to get a ruling.

"So we might not have a decision on the questions referred much in advance of the date (October 2018) by which both (Brexit negotiators) David Davis and Michel Barnier have said negotiations would need to be concluded," Mr Maugham wrote.

He also noted that Ireland was not in favour of the legal action, a stance he found "surprising".

He said the leftover money raised would go "either to other Brexit related litigation with sympathetic aims" or to charity.

Britain triggered Article 50 on March 29 after 52 per cent of British voters opted at a referendum in June last year to leave the EU.

"It is clear that Brexit is a disaster. I don't regret trying to make it easier for the British people to change their minds," Mr Maugham wrote in a tweet.

AFP

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