Home / Insights / Blog / Brexit Court Cases Cost Taxpayers £1.2m in Legal Fees

Brexit Court Cases Cost Taxpayers £1.2m in Legal Fees

Brexit Court Cases Cost Taxpayers £1.2m in Legal Fees

Brexit legal cases

The Department for Exiting the EU (DExEU) has revealed that court cases relating to Brexit have cost taxpayers £1.2m in legal fees.

The department’s annual report showed legal costs were the most significant area of expenditure after staffing.

Legal fees totalled £3.7m, and of this, £700,000 was spent on the Article 50 and Article 127 cases, while £500,000 was spent on the legal fees for the winners of the case, including the claimant Gina Miller.

The Supreme Court‘s dismissal in January of the government’s argument that it had the power to begin official Brexit negotiations with the rest of the European Union without Parliament’s prior agreement meant Parliament had to pass legislation, authorising Theresa May to invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty and kick-start the two-year negotiations.

Another case, against the triggering of Article 127 to take the UK out of the European Economic Area, was blocked by the High Court in February, resulting in a cost of £78,000 in legal fees including those of counsel.

‘A colossal waste of time and money’

Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer called the sum “a colossal waste of time and money.”

He said: “Parliament needed be brought into the Brexit process, not pushed away. To have spent over £1m of taxpayers’ money trying to avoid Parliamentary scrutiny says all you need to know about this Prime Minister’s priorities and her closed, divisive approach to Brexit.”

Tom Brake, the Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson, said: “None of this would have happened if the government had done the right thing and given Parliament a full role from the start. But this bill is nothing compared to the huge cost the country will pay if the Conservatives plough ahead with their extreme version of Brexit.”

In his foreword to the report, Brexit Secretary David Davis said his department is now :

“in a strong position to deliver a smooth and orderly exit” from the EU.

He added: “I know that with the continued energy and creativity shown by the department so far, we will deliver a deal that works for everyone.”

A spokesperson for the Brexit department said: “The Article 50 court case raised a vital issue relating to the UK’s constitutional arrangements. The Government thought it was right to bring the case to the UK’s highest court.”

Financial regulator hires Brexit lawyers

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the financial regulatory body that operates independently of the UK government, has brought in 15 lawyers at a cost of £2.5m to oversee the work of turning European financial legislation into UK law under the great repeal bill.

The bill will repeal the Act of Parliament which took Britain into the European Economic Community in 1973 and will end the supremacy of EU law over British courts. The House of Commons Library has said it will be one of the largest legislative processes “ever undertaken.”

The lawyers employed by the FCA will be scrutinising European financial services law to ensure that there is no disruption on the day Britain leaves the EU.

There are 12,000 EU regulations in force in the UK and 1,000 new items of legislation may be required.

Andrew Bailey, chief executive of the FCA, said:

“We are having lawyers go through page by page to say which elements will be inoperable if you just dumped them into UK legislation because they relate to different institutions and organisational structures.”

Labour’s Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer said the repeal bill would not gain Labour’s support in its current form. He is demanding changes on matters from parliamentary scrutiny to workers’ rights.


Brexit legal advisory service

For advice on legal issues relating to the potential implications of Brexit, strategic planning and fulfilling your business objectives, please contact our experienced solicitors today on 03456 381381 or email enquiries@ibblaw.co.uk.