Page 13

Jan Advocate 2017

THE ADVOCATE V O L . 7 5 P A R T 1 J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 7 11 ENTRE NOUS The bold headline from the Daily Mail (of all rags) screamed it all: Enemies of the people: Fury over ‘out of touch’ judges who have‘declared war on democracy’ by defying 17.4m Brexit voters and who could trigger constitutional crisis.1 Enemies of the people: Fury over ‘out of touch’ judges who have ‘declared war on democracy’ by defying 17.4m Brexit voters and who could trigger constitutional crisis. Three photographs of the bewigged jurists appeared under the glaring headline and surrounding article, which described an “unholy alliance of judges” seeking to thwart the will of Britons who had voted in a referendum in favour of leaving the European Union. The Telegraph was not really that much better in headlining the so-called “constitutional crisis” as “Judges v. The People” and quoting a Conservative MP as saying, “You now have the High Court telling Government and Parliament how to go about their business. This is unprecedented.”1 In the same month that the Oxford Dictionary accepted “post-truth” as a new word, we should not be surprised—disappointed, yes, moved to correct ignorance wherever we see it, yes—but we should not be surprised. The evidence of this so-called “war on democracy” and plot to undermine the will of the British people was a decision of the High Court of Justice issued on November 11, 2016 concluding that the Secretary of State does not have power under the Crown’s prerogative to give notice of the UK’s intention to leave the European Union.2 Instead, the court decided, the matter must to be put to a vote in both Houses of Parliament before Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union (“TEU”) can be lawfully triggered. The decision is hardly surprising, and far from being a “war on democracy” or “out of touch”; it is actually a strong defence for the people against a government seeking to conduct itself without constitutional authority. It is a healthy check on unbridled power. Article 50, which concerns itself with withdrawal from the European Union, came into force in 2009 after amendments arising from the Lisbon Treaty of 2007. Article 50 provides, in part, as follows:


Jan Advocate 2017
To see the actual publication please follow the link above