Wales politics

Brexit court ruling 'raises profound devolution questions'

Mick Antoniw

The Welsh Government is to apply to have a voice in the proposed Supreme Court appeal against the High Court decision on Brexit, it has announced.

Counsel general Mick Antoniw said the ruling raised questions of "profound importance" on the legal framework for devolution.

The court ruled on Thursday that MPs must vote on whether the UK can start the Article 50 EU exit process.

It means the government cannot start formal exit negotiations on its own.

The three judges looking at the case found there was no constitutional convention of the royal prerogative - powers used by ministers - being used in legislation relating to the EU.

On Thursday First Minister Carwyn Jones said challenging a High Court ruling that MPs should be consulted over leaving the EU would be a mistake.

But on Friday Mr Antoniw said the High Court ruling on Article 50 and a separate ruling in Northern Ireland both "raise issues of profound importance... in relation to the wider constitutional arrangements of the United Kingdom and the legal framework for devolution".


"I intend to make an application to be granted permission to intervene in the proposed appeal before the Supreme Court," he said.

"My intention is to make representations about the specific implications of the government's proposed decision for Wales."

The counsel general said the judgements raise questions about the use of prerogative power to take steps which will or may impact on:

  • the powers of Welsh ministers
  • the legislative powers of the assembly
  • the legal and constitutional relationships of the assembly to parliament
  • the legal and constitutional relationships of the Welsh Government to the UK government
  • the social and economic impact on Wales

Mr Antoniw acts as the senior legal advisor to the Welsh Government and is Labour AM for Pontypridd.

In the Belfast ruling, a judge ruled there was nothing in the 1998 Good Friday peace agreement to prevent the government triggering Article 50.

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