Liberty Vs The Prime Minister: Hearing Friday 18 October

15 October 2019

  • Liberty vs Prime Minister hearing in Court of Appeal Friday 18 October
  • Case seeks to ensure the Prime Minister upholds the law under the Benn Act

Liberty’s judicial review to ensure the Prime Minister upholds the law will be heard in the Court of Appeal this Friday.

The human rights and civil liberties organisation launched the 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’).

The Benn Act states the UK Government must ask the EU for an extension if MPs don't approve a Brexit deal by 19 October this year.

Liberty applied for an urgent hearing to prevent the Prime Minister flouting the law.  That application will be heard on Friday by the Court of Appeal – and if it is granted a full hearing on the case will be heard immediately in the same court.

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.

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.

A crowd funder to support the case has already raised more than £16,000.

Martha Spurrier, Liberty director, said:

“This case is about ensuring that the Government – whoever it is, or whatever its intention – acts within the law. We hope that on Friday the Court of Appeal will make it crystal clear what the Prime Minister can and cannot do under the Benn Act.

“These are extraordinary political times - but that doesn’t mean the Government can act beyond the law. Any Government which defies Parliamentary process and law because it doesn’t serve their aims should be a cause of concern for everyone.

“We’re not fighting on party political lines, and it doesn’t have anything to do with Brexit. Liberty is and always has been fiercely independent - that’s what makes us the right people to bring this crucial case and hold the Government to account.”