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UK High Court Brexit ruling - implications for Ireland's IFS industry Back
Thursday November 3rd 2016: The UK High Court ruled this morning that Article 50 can't be triggered to invoke Brexit by the UK Government acting on its own. The Lord Chief Justice ruled that the UK Government's contention that it can invoke Article 50 to trigger exit from the UK without the approval of Parliament are "contrary to fundamental constitutional principles of the sovereignty of parliament". The judgment adds in an offfical conclusion: "The court does not accept the argument put forward by the government. There is nothing in the text of the 1972 Act* to support it."
The ruling means that Brexit will inevitably be delayed beyond the early exit speculated upon only this week by UK PM Theresa May.

Opposition parties, including the Scottish National Party, Labour, Liberals, and a substantial minority 'remain' rump within the Conservative party, will now have to be consulted before the article can be triggered.

This theoretically gets Prime Minister May off the hook, - she herself was a lukewarm 'remainer' during the referendum campaign.
Nevertheless, it still leaves the possibility of Brexit in the air, UK Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn today saying that Labour would attempt to continue to respect the majority decision of the UK electorate.

Sterling surged on the news, previously supported by news from the US of a shift in US presidential polls toward Donald Trump, whose protectionist trade policies would support a weakening of the dollar.

Sterling rose by over 1 cent against both the euro and the US dollar, after the High Court announcement at 10 a.m. GMT on November 3rd.

Implications for Ireland's IFS industry

For Ireland, and Ireland's IFS sector the news will bring welcome hope that Brexit might not happen after all, or at least as soon as had been feared. A Finance Dublin poll published before the Brexit vote on June 23rd 2016 found that most IFS industry respondents would not welcome Brexit, as a sizeable portion of IFS services export trade is with the UK.

Nevertheless, preparedness for Brexit continues to mean for the Irish IFS sector that clarification and consolidation of businesss models based on the continued availability of EU passporting remains an important continued consideration for all IFS business leaders. The Republic of Ireland's continued membership of the European Union, with all its passporting advantages, remains a fixed 'known' in what continues to be a business landscape with many 'known and unknown unknowns'.

The possibility of Brexit having to be passed by Parliament (after the forthcoming Appeal) raises the possibility of a wider Brexit public debate than would have been otherwise likely. This would inevitably bring negotiating issues into play in public, and make the dicussion more transparent - e.g. on issues around the 'four freedoms'. It also opens the door for Britain's EU partners to engage in the process to a greater way, and this will be something that Ireland, and other members of the 'EU 27' will need to be mindful of going forward.

*The '1972 Act' is the accession act for the UK to join the EEC, the forerunner of the EU.
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