UK Impact

Lawyers’ first bid to STOP Brexit reaches High Court as they argue MPs must vote before UK quits the European Union

  • London hairdresser Deir Dos Santos says that PM cannot trigger Article 50
  • He wants MPs to vote on the legal clause in Parliament before its activation
  • Application is ‘the most important constitutional law case in living memory’
  • Lawyer said Mr Dos Santos is ‘ordinary guy’ who wants things done in a ‘proper manner’

Deir Dos Santos, a hairdresser based in London, is arguing that the Prime Minister should not be allowed to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty – the clause which starts the formal process for Britain leaving the EU – without Parliament’s consent.

The ‘highly political’ application has been described by lawyers involved as ‘the most important constitutional law case in living memory’.

If successful, the bid could hand MPs – three quarters of whom supported Remain – the power to delay Britain’s departure and control the terms.

The first legal challenge over Brexit is due to be heard at the High Court (pictured) as an 'ordinary' British citizen argues that MPs must vote before the UK quits the EU 

The case will be heard before two senior judges: Sir Brian Leveson – president of the Queen’s Bench Division who delivered a report in 2012 on the culture, practices and ethics of the UK press – and Mr Justice Cranston, formerly an MP and solicitor general during Tony Blair’s government.

The two judges will also consider related Article 50 challenges.

The Dos Santos case is being led by international law expert Dominic Chambers QC, instructed by law firm Edwin Coe, which says the challenge concerns the sovereignty of Parliament.

Mr Chambers said Mr Dos Santos is ‘just an ordinary guy’, telling Bloomberg. ‘If his rights are going to be taken away, he wants it done in a proper and lawful manner.’

He added: ‘The purpose of a judicial review is to correct the executive when they have gone wrong. We say the executive will be abusing their powers if they give an Article 50 notification without the approval of Parliament.’

Deir Dos Santos, a hairdresser based in London, is arguing that the Prime Minister (pictured) should not be allowed to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty

Last week, Brexit supporters staged a demonstration outside the firm’s office in London, waving banners and placards which read: ‘Uphold the Brexit vote’.

Among the key issues judges will have to analyse is the true extent of the Prime Minister’s executive powers. The Government is expected to assert that the royal prerogative can be used to trigger Article 50.

David Greene, senior partner and head of group action litigation at Edwin Coe, said: ‘Whilst Brexit is highly political, the issue before the court tomorrow is a basic question of the rule of law.

‘The claimant submits that the course proposed by the Government is unlawful because only Parliament is empowered to authorise service of the Article 50 notice and consequent withdrawal from the EU.

‘The Government asserts that the executive may use the royal prerogative to serve the notice. The court is asked to determine that issue in isolation from the politics that surround the whole question of Brexit.’

Meanwhile, Cabinet Office minister Oliver Letwin, tasked with setting up the Government’s Brexit unit, said yesterday that the Prime Minister will be able to trigger Article 50 – the legal process for leaving the EU – without first securing parliamentary approval.

But he acknowledged there were ‘conflicting views’ over whether Article 50 can be invoked under prerogative powers or required parliamentary approval and predicted it would end up in court.

He added that the row was ‘academic’ because the withdrawal process will also involve either repealing or amending the 1972 European Communities Act, which will require debates and votes in both Houses of Parliament.

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angela gardner
angela gardner

A proper manner? Does he mean the way the EU was created, by deception, encroachment and blatant lies. we did not JOIN the EU we joined a COMMON MARKET. The rest you know, so what part of that was correct and democratic. This is a nonsense and I do not for one minute believe this guy has gone this far with the risk of all cost, to make this point and I would like to know his backers!!


“Lawyer said Mr Dos Santos is ‘ordinary guy’ who wants things done in a ‘proper manner’”

Judging by his name: I would hazard a guess that Mr Dos Santos is not just an ‘ordinary guy’ but of immigrant stock and therefore has a vested personal interest rather than the rule of Law. Why else would he have originally kept his name secret?


Just who is this bloody hairdresser? Is he a British citizen? What “rights” does he have? Id sure like some investigation into this guy.

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