Balfour+Manson Chairman hails article 50 ruling

Elaine Motion

Elaine Motion

The Advocate General of the European Court of Justice has delivered an "unequivocal opinion" that the UK can revoke Article 50 without the need for agreement from the 27 other member states, Elaine Motion, Executive Chairman of Balfour+Manson said today.

Mrs Motion has been involved in the case - which sought to clarify the UK's legal position on revoking Article 50 - since it started in December 2017. 

Today, the European Court of Justice's advocate general, Manuel Campos Sanchez-Bordona, said that if a country decided to leave the EU, it should also have the power to change its mind during the two-year exit process specified in Article 50 of the EU treaty.

And it should be able to do so without needing the consent of the other 27 member states.

The Court of Justice (ECJ) will deliver its final ruling at a later date, but it has a clear record of following the opinion of its advocate general.

A group of Scottish politicians - including Green MSP Andy Wightman and SNP MP Joanna Cherry, had asked the court whether the UK can call off Brexit without the consent of other member states.

After a series of hearings at the Court of Session in Scotland, it was agreed to refer the matter for a decision by the European Court of Justice. The UK Government challenged that decision, but the UK Supreme Court rejected its appeal.

Mrs Motion, who has represented the petitioners from Day 1, said: 

"This is an unequivocal opinion by the Advocate General. It states very clearly that the United Kingdom can revoke Article 50 without that decision having to be approved by the other 27 member states of the European Union. 

"This case has always been about one issue: clarity. It was about giving our parliamentarians a very clear understanding of the full range of options open to them. After almost a year and 14 court hearings, we have that clarity.  

"The European Court of Justice still has to deliver its final decision, but it is normal for the Court to follow the opinion of the Advocate General and this is a very clear and thoroughly-argued opinion."