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Brexit: Judicial independence and the Bill of Rights

The article 50 question should ultimately be decided by the judges of the highest court, not by high-handed newspaper editors, writes Chris Robinson

1 December 2016

At the beginning of November three senior judges, sitting as a Divisional Court of the High Court, made a ruling in R (Miller) v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union [2016] EWHC 2768 (Admin). The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Thomas, the Master of the Rolls, Sir Terence Etherton, and Lord Justice Sales unanimously ruled that parliament – rather than the prime minister by use of prerogative powers – would need to trigger article 50 in order to begin the UK’s exit process from the European Union.

The instant reaction from three leading British newspapers was to give the judges a front-page roasting in the form of blazing angry headlines: ‘Enemies of the People’ thundered the Daily Mail, ‘The judges versus the people’ declared the Daily Telegraph, and ‘Who Do You Think EU Are?’ asked the Sun.

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