Prime Minister Theresa May has made it clear that she does not intend to trigger Article 50 this year, the High Court was told in a directions hearing on Tuesday 19 July.
The Article is the legal mechanism within the Lisbon treaty that allows the UK to leave the EU and in written arguments, submitted by the government, Jason Coppel QC said that this was the government's "clearly expressed position."
Once Article 50 is invoked, the UK will have a maximum two-year window to leave the bloc. Two High Court judges heard details of a challenge on whether MPs should have a vote on the invoking of Article 50. No question on whether the court has jurisdiction to decide the constitutional issue was raised at the opening of the hearing.
The Financial Times noted the role of MPs in triggering Article 50 is significant because the majority of the lawmakers want to remain in the EU. "So a mandatory parliamentary vote to trigger the clause could be complicated by their opposition to it," the newspaper said.
Coppel told the court: "Notification [triggering] Article 50 will not occur before the end of 2016." Should anything change, the court would be given advance notice, he assured. He however did concede that there was nonetheless "some urgency" to the issue. Government lawyers also conceded that the case was likely to be appealed right up to the Supreme Court.
The two judges hearing the claims said that the challenge will be heard over two days, in mid -October by Lord Chief Justice Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd and also said that several challenges to Brexit will also be combined, with that filed by law firm Mishcon de Reya probably becoming the lead case and the others as interested parties.
According to The Guardian, seven private actions that insist only parliament and not the prime minister possess the authority to invoke Article 50, have been identified to the court.
The lead case for the legal challenge will be brought by law firm Mishcon de Reya on behalf of investment manager and philanthropist Gina Miller, 51, from London, who was present at court.
Other legal actions include one from French expatriates and one from a Polish national, the court was told. Lord Pannick QC and Tom Hickman will act as counsel by Mishcon in the action to be filed next week.
British national and hairdresser, Deir Dos Santos, is also one of those who has filed a case. His claim argues: "The result of the referendum is not legally binding in the sense that it is advisory only and there is no obligation [on the government] to give effect to the referendum decision."
Racist and anti-Semitic abuse
Lord Pannick told the court that the publicity that has accompanied notification of the legal issue has "provoked a large quantity of abuse directed at my solicitors, Mishcon de Reya. It's racist abuse, it's anti-Semitic abuse and it's objectionable. It's contempt of court for people to make threats [in relation to live proceedings].
He added: "We have asked that the names of those people who are making the [additional] claims should be redacted. People have been deterred from [making legal claims] by the abuse. It's a very serious criminal matter for people to make threats."
One of the two judges who heard the directions hearing, Sir Brian Leveson - whilst acknowledging that the case involved matter of great constitutional importance - said that interfering with the course of justice by making threats was "an extremely serious matter." "Apart from the commission of a criminal offence, there's a real risk that behaviour of this type is a contempt of court."
The Guardian also noted that Santos has also been abused online since his involvement was revealed. He was not in court on Tuesday 19 July.