Belfast High Court rejects legal challenge to Brexit

A group of politicians and campaigners took the case

Northern Ireland, abortion, human rights, law, Stormont, Belfast High Court

A general view of Belfast High Court | Image: Paul Faith / PA Archive/PA Images

Northern Ireland's High Court has dismissed a first legal challenge to Britain's exit from the European Union.

Mr Justice Paul Maguire said the implications for Northern Ireland were still uncertain after British Prime Minister Theresa May said she would begin exit negotiations before March.

A cross-party group of politicians claimed the country should have a veto on an exit - and said the Stormont Assembly should have a say on whether to trigger negotiations with Europe.

Raymond McCord, whose son was murdered by loyalist paramilitaries, had a separate Brexit challenge surrounding its impact on the peace process heard alongside that of the politicians at the High Court in Belfast.

Mr Justice Maguire said: "While the wind of change may be about to blow, the precise direction in which it will blow cannot yet be determined so there is a level of uncertainty, as evidenced by the discussion about how the Northern Ireland land border with Ireland was affected by withdrawal from the EU."

He added: "In respect of all issues, the court dismissed the applications."

The court ruled that consent from Stormont is not required for the process to begin.

But it says it will defer the wider issue of whether Mrs May can invoke Article 50 without the explicit backing of the British parliament to the English courts.

Reporter David Blevins is outside the court.