Brexit, Article 50 and the Contested British Constitution

18 Pages Posted: 2 Oct 2016

See all articles by Sionaidh Douglas-Scott

Sionaidh Douglas-Scott

University of Oxford - Faculty of Law; Queen Mary University of London

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Date Written: October 1, 2016


This article discusses the early stages of the Art 50 TEU process, and those aspects that relate most clearly to British constitutional law. Its overarching theme is that the Brexit process is rendered highly problematic by the lack of any coherent conception of the British Constitution. Different parties settle on interpretations of constitutional law that support their case, but often there is no determinative answer. Three broad issues are examined in order to substantiate this claim: the EU Referendum, the triggering of Article 50, and the Devolution aspect of Brexit. I argue that each of these issues reveals tensions and competing constitutional interpretations that suggest that the British Constitution is ill-equipped to deal with Brexit.

Suggested Citation

Douglas-Scott, Sionaidh, Brexit, Article 50 and the Contested British Constitution (October 1, 2016). Forthcoming in the Modern Law Review, Queen Mary School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 241/2016, Available at SSRN:

Sionaidh Douglas-Scott (Contact Author)

University of Oxford - Faculty of Law ( email )

St Cross Building
St Cross Road
Oxford, OX1 3UL
United Kingdom

Queen Mary University of London ( email )

School of Economics and Finance
Mile End Road
London, E1 4NS
United Kingdom

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