Can the UK end Brexit unilaterally ?

The European Court of Justice’s Advocate General said on Tuesday that the UK has the right to withdraw its Brexit notice from the EU unilaterally.

Advocate Generals Opinion C-621/18

Advocate General Campos Sánchez-Bordona proposes that the Court of Justice should declare that Article 50 TEU allows the unilateral revocation of the notification
of the intention to withdraw from the EU.

That possibility continues to exist until such time as the withdrawal agreement is formally concluded.

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At the request of various MSPs, MPs and MEPs, a Scottish court, the Court of Session, Inner House, First Division (UK), asks the Court of Justice whether a Member State which has notified the European Council of its intention to withdraw from the EU in accordance with Article 50 TEU may unilaterally revoke that notification and, if so, subject to what conditions.

In answer to the question from the Scottish court, the Advocate General proposes that the Court of Justice should, in its future judgment, declare that Article 50 TEU allows the unilateral revocation of the notification of the intention to withdraw from the EU, until such time as the withdrawal agreement is formally concluded, provided that the revocation has been decided upon in accordance with the Member State’s constitutional requirements, is formally notified to the European Council and does not involve an abusive practice.

The Advocate General’s Opinion is not binding on the Court of Justice. It is the role of the Advocates General to propose to the Court, in complete independence, a legal solution to the cases for which they are responsible. The Judges of the Court are now beginning their deliberations in this case. Judgment will be given at a later date.

Although the advice is non-binding it comes as the UK Parliament begins five days of debates on Theresa May’s proposed Brexit deal.