June 20, 2024

European Court of Justice rejects lawsuits against Brexit

Three British citizens have unsuccessfully sued for the loss of their EU rights against the Brexit agreement. The European Court of Justice has now dismissed the complaints as inadmissible. Citizens already lack the interest of legal protection.


In 2016, the majority of British voters voted for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union. Britain then informed the European Council of its intention to leave the European Union. The corresponding “Brexit” agreement was signed in January 2020. The Council of the European Union approved this agreement on behalf of the European Union by a decision of January 20, 2020. Finally, on January 31, 2020, the United Kingdom withdrew from the European Union.

But not all British subjects agree with Brexit and its consequences. British nationals have unsuccessfully challenged the Brexit agreement and the Council’s decision in three separate cases before the European Union’s General Court (CFI). They claimed, inter alia, that this deprived them of the rights they had exercised and acquired as citizens of the European Union. Nor has it been successful before the European Court of Justice (Judgment of 15 June 2023, Case No. C-499/21 P, C-501/21 P, C-502/21 P).

Brexit was a sovereign decision by the United Kingdom

Before the European Court of Justice, the plaintiffs were unsuccessful, and the lawsuits were dismissed as inadmissible. So the European Court of Justice had to deal with the consequences of Brexit again. However, the latter agreed with EuG’s opinion and rejected appeals against the decisions. British nationals have no interest in legal protection.

If natural persons wish to defend themselves against acts of Member States affecting them, they must prove their specific need for legal protection. Article 263(4) of the Treaty on the Employment of the European Union (TFEU) assumes that the plaintiffs must be the senders of the act in question or must be directly and individually affected by it.

However, the European Court of Justice maintains that the decision to exit depends solely on the will of the member state concerned, and therefore solely on its sovereign decision. Therefore, British citizens lost their citizenship and rights in the European Union as a result of the sovereign decision of the United Kingdom to withdraw from the Union. With regard to the Withdrawal Agreement or the decision of the Council of the European Union to approve this agreement, there is therefore a lack of necessary attention. Accordingly, the European Court of Justice found that the proceedings were rightly dismissed as inadmissible.

lmb/LTO Editorial Team

Quotation suggestion

Lack of concern for legal protection: European Court of Justice rejects Brexit claims. In: Legal Tribune Online, 06/15/2023, Available here. https://www.lto.de/persistent/a_id/51998/ (Retrieved on: 06/16/2023)


Information about the quotation proposal