Home > News > Court of Appeal hears challenge concerning the Prime Minister’s compliance with the Benn Act

The Court of Appeal (the Lord Chief Justice, the Master of the Rolls and the President of the Queen’s Bench Division) is today hearing an urgent appeal concerning the Prime Minister’s compliance with the European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 2) Act 2019 – otherwise known as the Benn Act. The Benn Act requires that, in the event that neither a withdrawal agreement nor an agreement to leave the EU without a deal has been approved by each House of Parliament, the Prime Minister must seek to obtain from the European Council an extension to the withdrawal period under Article 50(3) of the Treaty on European Union by no later than 19 October 2019: see section 1(4). The means by which he must do so is the sending of a letter in the schedule to the Benn Act.

The Appellant, Liberty, is claiming that the Prime Minister is seeking to frustrate the operation of the Benn Act and, hence, acting unlawfully. The appeal seeks to challenge an order by Supperstone J, the Lead Judge of the Administrative Court, refusing to order an urgent hearing of the claim until after the deadline had passed. The Court has ordered that, if permission to appeal is granted and the appeal succeeds, it will reconstitute itself to hear the judicial review on a rolled-up basis immediately thereafter. Similar proceedings are taking place in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Press coverage of the proceedings is available here and the live stream is accessible here.

David Blundell appears on behalf of the Prime Minister, led by First Treasury Counsel, Sir James Eadie QC. David also represented the Prime Minister in the R (Miller) v. The Prime Minister [2019] UKSC 41, [2019] 3 WLR 589, the challenge to the prorogation of Parliament.

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