Attorney general jumps to defend courts following Article 50 backlash

 
Hayley Kirton
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Attorney General Jeremy Wright leaving Number 10
Wright was among the government's legal team for the case (Source: Getty)

Attorney general Jeremy Wright has stood up to defend the courts today, following attacks on the legal system after high court judges decided government must consult parliament before Article 50 can be triggered.

Speaking at an event to launch the Law Society's pro bono charter and manual, Wright said that, while those involved in the case could not expect to be "immune from criticism", the claimants were entitled "to bring their case and to have it heard" and "they should not be subject to harassment and intimidation for doing so".

Meanwhile, Wright noted, the judges on the case "were entitled to decide it in any way they thought appropriate in accordance with their legal judgement".

Wright, who himself voted remain in the referendum, was among the government's legal team on the case.

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The attorney general also made clear in his speech that government intended to appeal the decision. The case is expected to be heard in the Supreme Court early next month.

Wright continued: "If, after further argument, the Supreme Court decides against the government, the government will respect the Supreme Court’s judgement, because that is what the rule of law requires and because, however big, or public, or political or controversial the case may be, the rule of law matters more."

Law Society president Robert Bourns added: "We are fortunate in this country to have a set of institutions which provide clarity and resolution of issues triggered by [the] referendum.

"This includes next month's Supreme Court hearing on Article 50 which we hope will be greeted – whichever way it goes – with a much less inflammatory reaction."

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Over the weekend, Gina Miller, the lead claimant on the case, spoke out about the reactions to the decision on the BBC's Andrew Marr show, remarking it had brought out "a dark side of society".

Meanwhile, the Bar Council Lord Chancellor Liz Truss to speak out against the "serious and unjustified attacks on the judiciary". Truss later said the judiciary was "the foundation upon which our rule of law is built".

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