• Judgment Released: Parliament Must Approve Triggering of Article 50
  • February 27, 2017
  • Law Firm: Fragomen Del Rey Bernsen Loewy LLP - New York Office
  • By a majority vote of 8-3, the UK Supreme Court ruled that the government must consult Parliament prior to invoking Article 50 to separate the United Kingdom from the European Union.


    On June 23, 2016, the UK public voted in favor of leaving the European Union. Article 50 is the formal mechanism which a member state must invoke if it decides to leave the European Union. Following the referendum, the government’s decision to trigger Article 50 without parliamentary consent was legally challenged by several parties.

    In early December 2016, the Justices of the UK Supreme Court heard the government's appeal against the unanimous High Court ruling that the government did not have the power to trigger Article 50 unilaterally.

    Next Steps

    The Supreme Court is the final court of appeal in the United Kingdom and the decision is binding. The government now needs to draft a bill that will be debated in Parliament and which will need to be approved by both the House of Commons and the House of Lords before it can become law as an Act of Parliament. Following the Prime Minister’s speech last week in which she outlined a strategy for a swift Brexit, it is anticipated that the government will present the bill to Parliament shortly.

    The Supreme Court held that this consultation does not need to extend to Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

    What This Means for Employers and Foreign Nationals

    The decision was largely expected and will impact the process the government follows in implementing the outcome of the Referendum and potentially also the timeline for Brexit.

    Fragomen will issue updates on Brexit as developments occur. For more information, please visit Fragomen’s dedicated Brexit site, which contains news, FAQs, and analysis/commentary in the form of blogs, videos, webcasts and events.