18 October 2019

  • Court of Appeal refuses application for urgent hearing but case continues
  • Liberty argues no one is above the law
  • Liberty supporters help pay for case to ensure Government complies with the law
  • Liberty has been challenging injustice and abuse of power for more than 80 years

Liberty told judges in the Court of Appeal today (Friday 18 October 2019) that no one is above the law and the Prime Minister must obey the Benn Act.

Lawyers for the Prime Minister asserted in court today that Boris Johnson can take steps to make the European Council refuse an extension. Liberty maintains that this defies his clear obligations under the Benn Act.

The Court of Appeal refused to hear Liberty’s case today – but the case continues.

The human rights and civil liberties organisation launched legal action against the Prime Minister last month after he - and other cabinet members - said he would flout the European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 2) Act (the ‘Benn Act’).

Liberty supporters have helped bring this case, with more than 700 people donating more than £20,000 in a matter of days – just to ensure the Government complies with the law.

Martha Spurrier, Liberty director, said:

“This fight continues because our democracy is at stake. Today in court the Prime Minister confirmed our worst fears that he thinks he can take steps which we say would subvert the law. No one is above the law and Liberty will stop at nothing to hold the Government to account.

“This case has nothing to do with Brexit. It is about ensuring the Government - whoever it is, or whatever its intention - obeys the law. Liberty is and always has been fiercely independent and that’s what makes us the right people to continue this fight.”


Liberty is not affiliated with any political party, and has robustly challenged unjust laws, policies and practices since 1934.

It is a cross-party, non-party membership human rights organisation which has held governments of all political persuasion to account for more than 80 years.

The objective of Liberty’s litigation is to ensure that the UK government respects and upholds human rights and civil liberties.

Liberty is neutral on the issue of Brexit, and this case is nothing to do with whether or how the UK leaves the European Union.


Contact the Liberty press office on 020 7378 3656 / 07973 831 128 or

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