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Raymond McCord wins legal aid for Brexit challenge

By Alan Erwin

Published 20/08/2016

Raymond McCord
Raymond McCord

The father of a loyalist paramilitary murder victim has been granted funding to mount a High Court challenge to the UK leaving the European Union.

Victims campaigner Raymond McCord was assessed as eligible for legal aid required to seek a judicial review of the move towards Brexit.

His lawyer stressed such funding for senior and junior counsel is only authorised in cases of merit, complexity and public importance.

Mr McCord's challenge - the first of its kind to be launched in Northern Ireland -set to come before the court early next month.

A cross-community group of politicians and activists have also launched similar proceedings.

Mr McCord claims it would be unlawful to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty without Parliament first voting on the move.

His legal team also contend the move will undermine the UK's domestic and international treaty obligations under the Good Friday Agreement, and inflict damage on the Northern Ireland peace process.

The campaigner, whose son Raymond McCord Jr was murdered by the UVF in north Belfast in 1997, is taking the case amid concerns that the European peace money that goes towards victims of the Troubles may be discontinued in the aftermath of leaving the EU.

His case centres on the Government's response to the June 23 referendum result.

His lawyers claim that they were not given assurances that Article 50 - the mechanism under which the UK begins the formal process of quitting the EU - will not be invoked without first securing a Parliamentary mandate.

Any attempt to use Royal Prerogative powers instead cannot be justified, they say.

Mr McCord's solicitor, Ciaran O'Hare, of McIvor Farrell, confirmed funding for the challenge was granted this week by the Civil Legal Services Appeal Panel.

It means an application for leave to seek judicial review can be mounted once the new High Court term begins in September.

Mr O'Hare said: "Mr McCord wishes to extend his thanks to the panel for recognising the strong merit of his challenge."

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