Lawyer defends Lord Neuberger's accusation against the press after Article 50 High Court ruling

Lawyer defends Lord Neuberger's accusation against the press after Article 50 High Court ruling

The Supreme Court president has accused parts of the media of undermining the judiciary

Thursday, February 16, 2017

A prominent lawyer has defended Lord Neuberger's accusation that sections of the media "undermined the rule of law" in the wake of the High Court's decision on the triggering of Article 50. 

Last year, the court ruled that Theresa May couldn't trigger Article 50 without Parliament's approval, a decision which was upheld by the Supreme Court last month.

The High Court's decision brought outrage from Brexiteers and Eurosceptic newspapers for a perceived 'block' of Brexit - notably the Daily Mail, which ran the headline 'ENEMIES OF THE PEOPLE' above profiles of the judges. 

Lord Neuberger told the BBC on Thursday: "I think some of what was said undermined the rule of law - a factor which together with democracy is one of the two pillars on which our society is based. 

"And therefore if, without good reason, the media or anyone else undermines the judiciary, that risks undermining our society."

Mark Stephens, a constitutional lawyer and also a regular practitioner in the Supreme Court, backed up this accusation.

In an interview with Julia Hartley-Brewer, he explained the court was trying to illustrate to the government the proper way to start EU exit negotiations.

He said: "The government had clearly - as a matter of law - made a mistake as to how they had to operationalise the people's decision.

"Anyone who wants to leave the European Union would want it done properly and legally to ensure this couldn’t later be challenged.

"All the High Court did was show how it should be done."

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