Transcripts (perhaps draft) of the Article 50 ‘Brexit’ Appeal hearings at the Supreme Court

My Lady, my Lords, I appear on behalf of the appellant Raymond McCord, with Mr Fegan, and our position is one which goes further than my friend, and in fact in some respects is contrary to it, because we say that as a matter of the constitution of the United Kingdom, that it would be unconstitutional to withdraw from the EU without the consent of the people of Northern Ireland and we say that for two reasons.

First of all, being part of the EU is part of the constitutional settlement which in some respects overlaps with the arguments made by my learned friend. But we say, secondly, that there has been a transfer of sovereignty by virtue of the Good Friday agreement, the Downing Street declaration and section 1 of the Northern Ireland Act, so that in fact the people of Northern Ireland now have sovereignty over any kind of constitutional change, rather than Parliament.

The notion that Parliament is supreme, that it has primacy is now gone. There have been various dicta from your Lordships, including Lord Mance in Axa, about a law which might discriminate against red-headed people, and of course the dicta from Lord Steyn and Hoffmann in Jackson, that the Lords would have to intervene if Parliament were to act in a way which the court might regard to be unlawful or unconstitutional.

What is supreme, my Lords and my Lady, is the rule of law, in my respectful submission, and in interpreting what the rule of law is, it is useful to take a look at some of the Canadian cases, which, although there is a written constitution in Canada, which the UK of course does not have, looked at areas where the constitution did not apply.

Some extracts from the cases are set out in our printed case and for time reasons, I wonder could I refer your Lordships and my Lady to that; it is core volume 1 of the McCord case, it is a very small binder.

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