Article 50 judge says claimants have faced threats of 'serious violence'

Posted On: 
5th December 2016

Some of the claimants in the Article 50 court case have been threatened with “serious violence”, a senior judge revealed today.

Lord Justice Neuberger, the president of the Supreme Court
Credit: 
PA

Lord Justice Neuberger, the president of the Supreme Court, said some people had had their personal details kept secret because of the threats.

“We have made this order largely because various individuals have received threats of serious violence and unpleasant abuse in emails and other electronic communications,” he said in a statement to the court this morning.

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The court is hearing the Government’s appeal against a High Court ruling that the Government cannot trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, setting in motion formal Brexit negotiations with the EU, without consulting Parliament.

One of the claimants, investment manager Gina Miller, has already spoken out about the “extraordinary” abuse she has received since bringing the case.

She has spent thousands of pounds on extra security for her family and rented a new office space to help protect herself.

‘UNDERMINING THE RULE OF LAW’

Lord Justice Neuberger said those making the threats were attacking the fundamental principles of the legal system.

“Threatening and abusing people because they are exercising their fundamental right to go to court undermines the rule of law,” he said.

“Anyone who communicates such threats or abuse should be aware that there are legal powers designed to ensure that access to the courts is available to everyone.”

LEGAL ISSUE

The case has been the subject of frenzied debate, with one newspaper describing the three High Court judges who made the initial ruling as “enemies of the people”.

A statement on the Supreme Court’s website this morning made clear that the justices hearing the appeal were not making any kind of political judgment about Brexit.

“The Justices are aware of the public interest in this case and the strong feelings associated with the wider political questions of the UK's departure from the EU (which we stress are not the subject of this appeal),” it reads.

“The Justices' duty is to consider the legal questions impartially, and decide the case according to the law.”