Wednesday 11 January 2017 6:30 pm

Supreme Court confirms it will not be handing out advance copies of the Article 50 judgment

The Supreme Court has today confirmed it will not be giving anybody an early peek at the impending Article 50 decision.

"In view of the potential sensitivity of the case, there will be no copies of drafts available to anybody before the day of hand-down," a Supreme Court spokesperson said.

Last December, all 11 of the Supreme Court justices gathered to hear an appeal over whether the government had to consult parliament before it could trigger Article 50. A trio of High Court judges decided in November that the government could not use royal prerogative alone to start the UK's formal withdrawal process from the EU.

Read more: Carney reaffirms Brexit not the biggest risk to UK's financial stability

The decision from the country's top court, which returned from recess today, is widely expected to be handed down at some point this month

However, no official announcement has been made on the date of the judgment and the Supreme Court has told those who have enquired that they will aim to give three working days' notice before it is due to be released.

Earlier today, the Guardian reported that, behind closed doors, the government had conceded defeat on the appeal, leading to some speculation that they had been provided with an advanced viewing of the judgment. 

Read more: Why Tunisian olives hold the key to the UK’s post-Brexit trading success

However, Anthony Woolich, head of HFW's competition and regulation team, told City A.M. he was not shocked to learn the government might be fearing a defeat.

"Today's reports that the UK government expects to lose its legal battle to start the Brexit process without the approval of Parliament, and has drafted versions of a bill to put to lawmakers after the ruling, are not surprising," Woolich said. "The divisional court which handed down the original judgment was strong, including the Master of the Rolls and the Lord Chief Justice.

"It was a clear, unanimous judgment handed down less than three weeks after the hearing."