Brexit challenge ruling to be released Thursday, court says

British Prime Minister Theresa May leaves 10 Downing Street in London on Nov 2, 2016.
British Prime Minister Theresa May leaves 10 Downing Street in London on Nov 2, 2016.PHOTO: AFP

(BLOOMBERG) - A panel of senior judges will rule on Thursday morning (Nov 3) on a challenge to Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit plan, putting the case on track to reach the Supreme Court before she begins Britain's exit from the European Union early next year.

The ruling will be issued in London at 10am local time and will take about 30 minutes, a court spokesman said by e-mail Wednesday. The losing side will probably begin an appeal to be heard at the Supreme Court in December.

May wants control over how and when the country leaves Europe. Challengers including investment start-up founder Gina Miller and hairdresser Deir Dos Santos say May must initiate a vote in Parliament before she can trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which begins a two-year countdown to Brexit.

A defeat for the government "would throw the whole deck of cards back up in the air," said Robert Thomas, a law professor at Manchester University.

"There's a majority in the House of Lords that is in favour of remaining in the EU, so that would introduce so much more uncertainty if Parliament gets to vote."

Investors have looked to the lawsuit to delay the process amid concerns that May is prioritising immigration controls over safeguards for trade and banking.

A loss at the Supreme Court would force May to pursue a vote in Parliament, where most members of the House of Commons were in favour of remaining in the EU before the June 23 referendum.