Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Is Carla Bruni against a political comeback for Sarkozy?

Read more

DEBATE

Clone of Pakistan Protests: Democracy put the test (Part Two)

Read more

DEBATE

Pakistan Protests: Democracy put the test (Part One)

Read more

ENCORE!

The French Maestro of Soul

Read more

FOCUS

US tobacco giants want lion's share of e-cigarette business

Read more

ENCORE!

Bold and bonkers: Kate Bush is back on stage

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Simon Serfaty, US foreign policy specialist

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'It's a War, Stupid!'

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

French PM calls on ECB to go further to help economy

Read more

  • UN backs inquiry of IS group’s alleged crimes in Iraq

    Read more

  • French education ministry picture sparks racist abuse

    Read more

  • Obama calls for higher wages amid 'revving' US economy

    Read more

  • Video: Ukraine’s children return to school as fighting rages on

    Read more

  • Americans detained in North Korea call for US help

    Read more

  • US urges Israel to reverse West Bank land seizure

    Read more

  • Lesotho PM calls for regional peacekeeping force after ‘coup’

    Read more

  • Ukrainian forces retreat from Luhansk airport after clashes

    Read more

  • Teddy Riner, France’s unstoppable judo champion

    Read more

  • Death toll rises in Paris apartment building blast

    Read more

  • Iraqi forces free Amerli in biggest victory over IS militants since June

    Read more

  • French police arrest hungry hedgehog hunters

    Read more

  • Tripoli under control of militias, says government

    Read more

  • Monaco’s Falcao set for Man Utd loan on transfer deadline day

    Read more

  • Spain orders custody for parents of ill British boy

    Read more

  • Web doc on French self-immolation protests takes top prize

    Read more

British court rejects legal bid concerning EU treaty

Latest update : 2008-06-25

Britain's High Court rejected a lawsuit on Wednesday that sought to block the country's approval of an EU reform treaty.

London's High Court rejected Wednesday a legal bid to force the British government to hold a referendum on the European Union's Lisbon Treaty.
  
Businessman Stuart Wheeler, a backer of the opposition Conservative Party, launched the action on the basis that the governing Labour Party had promised a referendum on the EU draft constitution in its last election manifesto.
  
"The claim is dismissed," said Judge Stephen Richards.
  
Wheeler's lawyers applied for permission to appeal on the grounds of "serious and legal constitutional issues," but the judge refused the application.
  
The legal action has threatened to delay Britain's ratification of the EU reform treaty, the future of which was plunged into doubt by Ireland's "no" vote on the treaty in its June 12 referendum.
  
In the judgment the court ruled: "We are satisfied that the claim lacks substantive merit and should be dismissed."
  
"Even if we had taken a different view of the substance of the case in the exercise of the court's discretion, we would have declined to grant any relief, having regard in particular to the fact that parliament has addressed the question," it added.
  
In an unexpected turn of events, a judge last week asked the government to delay its almost-complete ratification of the treaty until he ruled on Wheeler's challenge.
  
The Lisbon Treaty Bill was given Royal Assent last week after being approved by both houses of Parliament, despite protests led by the Conservative Party, which called for a referendum.
  
But the ultimate step in the ratification process would come when Britain deposits its "instruments of ratification" in Rome -- home of the Rome Treaty of 1957 which set the cornerstone of what is today the European Union.
  
Britain's Europe Minister Jim Murphy welcomed the ruling.
  
"I am pleased that the judges have come down very clearly on the side of the government and found that this claim 'lacks substantive merit and should be dismissed'," he said in a statement.
  
"The judges have confirmed the government's position that the Lisbon Treaty differs in both form and substance from the defunct Constitution.
  
"The judges have also made a number of important points about the boundaries between parliament, government and the courts.
  
"With parliament's approval the government is proceeding to ratify the Lisbon Treaty, which is in our national interest and is a good treaty for the UK."
  
Despite the court's refusal to allow an appeal, Wheeler said afterwards that he had "high hopes of winning on appeal".
  
But judge Richards said: "We are satisfied that an appeal has no prospect of success.
  
"Whilst the issues raised are interesting and important, that is outweighed by the desirability of certainty and the avoidance of unnecessary delay in this matter.
  
"There is no other compelling reason why an appeal should be heard."
  
Eurosceptics claim that the Lisbon Treaty, which replaced the draft constitution after its rejection by French and Dutch voters in 2005, is virtually the same document, and therefore requires a public vote.
  

Date created : 2008-06-25

COMMENT(S)