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  • Dr Dimitrios Giannoulopoulos

Fundamental constitutional principles at stake in Miller

In an interview to LBC radio and the Clive Bull show, BiE Director, Dr Dimitrios Giannoulopoulos, summarised some of the key arguments developed by Lord Pannick QC for the respondents during the second day of discussion of the case of Miller at the UK Supreme Court. You can listen to radio interview here.

Dr Giannoulopoulos stressed in particular that Lord Pannick's argumentation was focussed on an effort to demonstrate that neither Parliament had inferred a prerogative power for the Government to trigger Article 50, nor the Referendum Act had expressly given the Government such powers.

On the contrary, the Referendum was advisory, and the Government had specifically rejected an Amendment that was giving legal force to the Referendum.

The 11 judge formation for the UKSC in Miller (photo from Telegraph)

Dr Giannoulopoulos then went on to explain that there was highly sopihisticated discussion of case law and constitutional law theory at the Supreme Court, and that the key constitutional principle that parliamentary sovereignty reigns supreme was at stake there.

He also noted that it was very ironic for the Government to fight so strongly against giving Parliament the right to vote, considering that empowering Parliament was the key rationale underpinning the argument for Brexit in the first place.

He then added that it was understandable for people who had voted for Brexit to be sceptical about the Courts' intervention, but, on the other hand, the case was only about a point of law, as the Divisional Court and Supreme Court underlined. In any case, the vast majority of MPs - including strong 'Remainers' - were accepting the outcome of the Referendum and this case was only part of empowring Parliament to be part of finetuning the decision as to how the country would move forward with Brexit.

Dr Giannoulopoulos concluded that developments in Parliament - with Theresa May conceding that the Government will be revealing some detail of her Brexit plan, and that there will be some discussion in Parliament - reinforced a pragmatic argument - in addition to the constitutional one - for giving Parliament the final say.

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