The People’s Challenge explained

Royal Prerogative cannot be used to remove ordinary people’s rights granted by Act of Parliament, the Government must respect that – The People’s Challenge

The People’s Challenge is a crowd-funded legal challenge to Mrs May’s decision to not consult Parliament before invoking Article 50, the formal mechanism starting the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union using “royal prerrogative” (more on that later).

The enforced removal of citizenship rights from 65 million people is completely unprecedented in a modern democracy – Grahame Pigney.

The People’s Challenge was started by Grahame Pigney, a UK citizen residing in France and used crowdfunding, at the suggestion of Jolyon Maugham QC, to meet the costs of hiring recognised specialists in UK constitutional law. A number of other legal challenges were also made, the lead case being Ms. Gina Miller, represented by Mishcon De Reya.

Mr Pigney says on the crowdjustice site

This is why I and other UK citizens both in the UK and overseas are prepared to be named as interested parties in the challenge to the Government and not just rely on others to make the more general arguments. Our group includes my son Rob Pigney, 22, Paul Cartwright, 50, a Gibraltarian national who runs Brex-IN, Christopher Formaggia, 49, who lives in Wales, and Tahmid Chowdhury, 21, a London student.

Grahame Pigney

For ordinary UK Citizens to have the chance to argue that their individual, personal rights and benefits justify that the timing and conditions of a Brexit should be decided by our democratically elected Parliament and not an appointed Government, crowdfunding is essential. We also need to set aside money to cover a contribution to the Government’s legal costs, in case one is ordered by the Court.

Grahame Pigney

What is the case about?

The question is quite simple: Can a goverment minister trigger the process of withdrawing the UK from the European Union without being authorised to do so by an Act of Parliament?

Why should a judge decide on a referendum?

Again, this is not the question being asked. There is a constitutional question about the right of a minister (even the Prime Minister) to invoke Article 50 without Parliament’s approval.

What the court case is NOT about?

Whether or not the UK should decide to withdraw from the European Union or
how or when Article 50 is invoked.

Wasn’t the decision made by the Referendum result itself?

Neither the People’s Challenge, nor the Government are saying in court that the referendum result is a “decision” that the UK should withdraw from the European Union. The “decision” can only be made by

  • The Prime Minister (the Government’s position).
  • By Parliament (the People’s Challenge position).

Want to read more?

The link to the original skeleton arguements presented to the Court (PDF).

The link to the crowdjustice microsite about The People’s Challenge.

The link to some of the key people behind The People’s Challenge.


Image : The Royal Courts of Justice
© Ms Jane Campbell /
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