Silvia Suteu

Brexit and the Courts: The Uncertain Fate of Constitutional Referendums in the UK

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: United Kingdom; Referendums; Brexit; European Union; Judicial Review; Democracy.

x This article seeks to tell the story of the Brexit referendum and the constitutional litigation that followed it. It does so drawing on comparative material regarding the regulation of constitutional referendums as well as their implementation and litigation around contested votes elsewhere. Ultimately, the chapter argues that the EU referendum in the UK, and the Brexit process more generally, have revealed the many uncertainties underpinning the UK constitution accumulated over recent decades. These unsettled norms go to the core of the legal system. They concern: the status of EU law under UK law; the scope and limits of judicial power; the place of referendums and popular sovereignty within the constitution; and the weaknesses inherent in the latter's lack of codification. Rather than being confined to the idiosyncratic British context, however, such problems are shown to emerge wherever the voice of the people is sought to be approximated by way of referendums, and acted upon in order to bring about constitutional upheaval.

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