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

The consequences of the case advanced by the appellant -- the argument is not only wrong, it does have very serious consequences, under this Act, but also for the whole relationship between the executive and Parliament. As to this Act, if the appellant is right, then by the sweep of the executive pen, the appellant can dispense with a whole swathe of domestic law rights, many of which are fundamental in character and which could not be restored by a future Parliament or indeed by any other UK constitutional actor acting unilaterally.

We have set out some of those fundamental rights in the annex to our written case, MS 12507. I have been asked to say particularly that my clients, and those that support them, consider that their EU citizenship is a fundamental part of their identity. So that if they are to be deprived of it, it is their elected representatives in Parliament who should in law be responsible for that.

I said there might be other wider consequences and can I give you one example of that, very briefly. If the Government is right, then it is certainly arguable, perhaps probable, that the executive could effectively dispense with the Human Rights Act and the convention rights which it incorporates into domestic law without the prior consent of Parliament.

I don't have time to deal with that point in any detail, but we have put the relevant provisions in the additional bundle and the short point is that section 1 defines what the convention rights are, but section 21 says that those rights are the rights in force from time to time -- as they applied to the UK from time to time. So if under Article 50(8) of the convention, the executive in the exercise of the prerogative denounces the convention, those rights as they apply in the UK are no rights, they can stay on the statute book, they can stay in schedule 1 but they are not of any effect. The Human Rights Act would technically be in force but it would be a dead letter.

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