BELFAST, Sep 12 (Reuters / EP) –
The Belfast High Court has ruled on Thursday that a hypothetical exit from the United Kingdom from the EU without any agreement would not contravene the 1998 Good Friday Accords, which ended decades of armed insurgency in the Ulster.
Three people, including activist Raymond McCord, argued in court that an abrupt divorce would violate the agreements and there is no law authorizing Boris Johnson's government to take this step, which remains an option for October 31.
However, Judge Bernard McCloskey has ruled that “the characterization of the problem that is the subject of these procedures is undoubtedly political,” so he has ensured that any evidence concerning this issue “belongs to the political world, both national and supranational.”
A lawyer representing the central government, Tony McGleenan, pointed out that the obligation to negotiate referred to in Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon lies in Brussels and not so much in the Member State that wants to leave the block, in this case the United Kingdom. In addition, he argued that the Brexit laws passed in 2017 and 2018 “assume but do not oblige” to have a Withdrawal Agreement.
The process adds to the cascade of appeals filed in different judicial instances in the United Kingdom against Johnson's plans, which the opposition has also criticized for stopping Parliament's work. On Wednesday, the main appeals court in Scotland called the parliamentary suspension “illegal”, although the final decision is still pending.
A McCord lawyer, Ciaran O'Hare, has confirmed to reporters that they will file an appeal with the Norwegian Court of Appeals and hopes to also take this case to the Supreme Court next week. “The plan is for all cases to converge in the Supreme Court,” O'Hare said.