25th January 2017
The decision of the Supreme Court is not really about Brexit, but an important decision on the relative power and authority of Parliament and, in particular, the Government.
Considering these principles outside of the realms of politics, it is not so different to a debate around the specific powers of a managing director. Could they, alone, take new and extreme steps to implement known shareholder objectives without the specific approval of either the Board or the shareholders themselves? In the context of the Supreme Court’s judgment, the Board and shareholders could be compared to Parliament and the electorate.
Just as the powers and authority of a managing director have their limitations, so do our Prime Minister’s. This is one of those rare occasions we get to see the extent of our leader’s delegated authority examined and tested.
But what does this mean for Brexit plans? Simplistically, this is a detour from the course set by the referendum - the legal process towards Brexit is likely to continue. We can now expect the Government to seek a specific authority by legislation to permit the Prime Minister to give notice under Article 50.
Adding to that, there are strong indications that the result of the referendum would be respected by a majority in Parliament and that specific simple authority would be granted.
Businesses should therefore continue to plan for a Brexit scenario and the potential repercussions of it for their business models and operations.