U.K. Government Facing First Legal Challenge Over Brexit

Palace of Westminster
The British parliament building in London. A legal challenge seeks to allow parliament to block Brexit. Public domain

Britain's high court on Tuesday hears a case from a U.K. citizen that seeks to guarantee parliamentary approval for Britain's departure from the EU.

The claim, brought by the hairdresser Deir Dos Santos, argues that, contrary to the British government's position, the prime minister does not have the power the trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon treaty, the official EU exit mechanism, without parliamentary approval, The Guardian reported.

But the government says that it does have this power under the so-called "royal prerogative," a set of decisions that senior politicians can take without consulting parliament, such as going to war or recognizing foreign states.

Tuesday's hearing is largely administrative but may also include some initial arguments.

Many who backed a "Remain" vote and want to see the result of the U.K.'s EU referendum overturned have pinned their hopes on forcing the government to pass the final decision through parliament.

A majority of MPs supported Britain remaining in the EU before the referendum, but many would likely change that position in light of the popular vote against the bloc.