Johnson’s Brexit Foe Plans Another Case to Allow Deal Review

Jonathan Browning

(Bloomberg) -- Sign up to our Brexit Bulletin, follow us @Brexit and subscribe to our podcast.

The lawyer who spearheaded successful challenges to Boris Johnson’s Brexit plan is preparing another lawsuit.

This time, attorney Jolyon Maugham hopes to use what he sees as a legal breach in taxation legislation to secure more time for Parliament to scrutinize the agreement with the European Union. Lawmakers are set to meet Saturday to debate a deal.

“What -- beyond Boris Johnson’s desire to meet his self-imposed deadline -- is the rush,” the English tax lawyer said in a tweet.

Parliament is being asked to approve a 500-page document that it hasn’t seen “with epochal consequences for Great Britain, Northern Ireland and the EU,“ he said. He uncharacteristically second guessed whether to file the suit, saying he would “pause and reflect and take soundings” before making a final decision.

Maugham, who got the courts to quash the prime minister’s suspension of Parliament, plans to return to Scotland for the latest case. He intends to seek an injunction in the Court of Session in Edinburgh “preventing the government from placing the Withdrawal Agreement before Parliament for approval,” he said. The suit will be heard Friday morning, he said.

In addition, legal challenges are already mounting in case Johnson fails to get his deal approved in Parliament. Liberty, a civil rights group, will ask a London court Friday morning to force the prime minister to seek a Brexit extension rather than take the country out of the EU without a deal.

Liberty said in a statement that the motion seeks to ensure that the government follows the Benn Act, which requires Johnson to seek an extension if faced with no-deal.

“If a full hearing goes ahead, Liberty will ask the court to declare the PM’s current position is unlawful and that he cannot take steps which would be likely to result in the EU refusing to agree an extension request, as required by the Benn Act,” the civil rights group said in a statement.

(Updates Liberty challenge in fifth paragraph.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Jonathan Browning in London at jbrowning9@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net, Christopher Elser

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.