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Judgment due in Brexit legal challenge in Northern Ireland

Three applicants argued that a no-deal Brexit would damage peace process agreements between the UK and Ireland.

Raymond McCord outside the Royal Courts of Justice in Belfast (Liam McBurney/PA)
Raymond McCord outside the Royal Courts of Justice in Belfast (Liam McBurney/PA)

By David Young

Judgment is due in a legal challenge that argued the Government’s Brexit strategy will damage the Northern Ireland peace process.

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Lord Justice Bernard McCloskey will deliver his ruling at Belfast High Court on Thursday morning on three joined cases against Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s handling of the UK’s European Union exit.

The trio of challenges contend that a no-deal Brexit on October 31 would undermine agreements involving the UK and Irish governments that were struck during the peace process and which underpin cross-border co-operation between the two nations.

The Government rejected that contention during two days of legal proceedings in the High Court.

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The applicants argue that a no-deal Brexit would damage cross border relations between the UK and Ireland (David Young/PA)

One of the applicants is high-profile victims’ campaigner Raymond McCord, whose son was murdered by loyalist paramilitaries in 1997.

Unlike Brexit-related challenges against the Government heard in England and Scotland, the Northern Ireland cases would not be able to leapfrog straight to the Supreme Court following the High Court judgment.

If any of the parties to the case challenge the judgment, they would first have to be heard by the Court of Appeal in Belfast.

Judges have set aside time, and indicated a willingness to sit over the weekend, to fast-track the hearing of any appeal.

That could potentially pave the way for the Northern Ireland challenge to be heard in the Supreme Court alongside Scottish and English cases next Tuesday.

PA

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