The High Court in Belfast will rule on Thursday whether a no-deal Brexit is lawful after a campaigner lodged a case arguing that it would contravene the Good Friday Agreement.
Activist Raymond McCord has argued that the case should be referred to the UK’s highest court, the Supreme Court, which will also hear businesswoman Gina Miller’s case on whether Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament for five weeks was lawful.
McCord told Reuters: “We go Thursday with a positive attitude. I believe very strongly that the case needs to be heard in the Supreme Court in London along with the two other cases from England and Scotland.”
The Irish border and backstop – the insurance policy designed to prevent a hard border on the island by keeping the UK in a temporary customs union with the EU – has become a key sticking point in the Brexit negotiations.
Some are concerned that checks on goods travelling between Northern Ireland and the Republic could undermine the peace process.
The Prime Minister has insisted that he will take the UK out of the EU on 31 October with or without a deal. However, on Monday, royal assent was given to a law requiring Johnson to request an extension to the Brexit deadline if no new deal had been reached by 19 October.
A government lawyer told the court that the obligation to negotiate is on Brussels rather than a member state, and that British legislation “assumes but does not require a withdrawal agreement”, Reuters reported.