Leading judges with the task of ruling on the historic Brexit legal challenge aim to give their decision “as quickly as possible”.
Lord Chief Justice Lord Thomas, Master of the Rolls Sir Terence Etherton and Lord Justice Sales reserved their decision on Tuesday at the end of a three-day hearing.
After hearing closing submissions from lawyers at the High Court in London, Lord Thomas announced: “We shall take time to consider the matter and give our judgment as quickly as possible.”
A number of applicants have challenged Theresa May’s strategy for Brexit in what has been described as one of the most important constitutional cases in generations.
They argue that the prime minister has no legal power to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty to leave the European Union without the prior authorisation of Parliament.
Mrs May announced at the Conservative Party conference that she intends doing so by the end of March 2017.
The judges have heard submissions that the Government lacks legal power to use the royal prerogative to notify Article 50 and begin the process of removing statutory rights granted to UK citizens under the European Communities Act 1972, which made EU law part of UK law.
Government lawyers say that if the challenge succeeds, the Government ‘’could not give effect to the will and decision of the people, as clearly expressed in the referendum, to withdraw from the EU without further primary legislation’’.
Because of the urgency and constitutional importance of the case, any appeal is expected to be heard by the Supreme Court, the highest court in the land, before the end of the year.