A second legal challenge to Brexit has fallen at the first hurdle. A High Court in London on Friday (3 February 2017) threw out a claim that the referendum result did not provide a legal basis for leaving the Single Market.
Campaigners had argued that the British people's decision to leave the European Union on 23 June 2016 had no bearing on the country's membership of the European Economic Area (EEA), or single market.
There was no reference to the Single Market on the ballot paper, which exclusively asked voters if Britain should remain part of the EU. However, government lawyers told judges that when Britain leaves the EU, the EAA would automatically cease to exist.
After just an hour, Lord Justice Lloyd Jones and Mr Justice Lewis threw out the application for a judicial review of the Brexit process.
A government spokesman said. "As the prime minister has said, we will not be a member of the Single Market and we will be seeking a broad new partnership with the EU including a bold and ambitious free-trade agreement."
The option of leaving the European Union while remaining in the single market has come to be known as 'soft Brexit'. Such an arrangement would see Britain keeping its existing trading arrangements with the continent while also accepting the free movement of people across its borders.
On 1 February, the House of Commons voted overwhelmingly in favour of triggering Article 50, which would open the formal process of Britain's departure from the EU. The vote was necessitated by a Supreme Court ruling that the government did not have the power to take Britain out of the without an act of Parliament. The British judiciary has been roundly criticised by sections of the British media for the decision, which was interpreted by some as contravening "the will of the people".
It is understood that more details concerning the judgement will be forthcoming. A representative from British Influence – one of the parties that brought the application to court – told IBTimes UK that a statement would be forthcoming.