June 8, 2018 / 11:25 AM / 12 days ago

Scottish judges reject challenge over Britain's ability to reverse Brexit

EDINBURGH (Reuters) - Scotland’s top court has rejected a bid by pro-EU campaigners to ask the European Court of Justice (ECJ) to rule on whether Britain alone can reverse its decision to leave the European Union.

The campaigners, consisting mainly of British and Scottish lawmakers, wanted the ECJ to clarify whether Britain could choose to remain in the world’s biggest trading bloc without permission from the other 27 members, if the British parliament decided that the final Brexit deal was not good enough.

However, the Court of Session in Edinburgh said on Friday it could not refer the matter to the ECJ because it did not engage in academic or hypothetical questions.

“What the petitioners are seeking is advice that, were a certain set of circumstances to come about, there is an alternative option that could be pursued given the political will to do so,” judge Colin Boyd said in his ruling.

“In short, the option of revocation of the article 50 notice is contingent on other factors rendering it a live possibility. At present it cannot be said that it is a live practical question.”

The British government has argued that the question of whether Britain could unilaterally stop Brexit was irrelevant because the will of the voters was clear after the 2016 referendum and ministers would not reverse the decision.

Polls indicate there has been no major shift in the views of Britons since the referendum, when 52 percent voted to leave the EU.

Lawyer Jolyon Maugham, who headed the court challenge, said on Twitter the campaigners would seek to appeal the decision if it was affordable.

Writing by Michael Holden; editing by Stephen Addison

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