Brexit Hearing Opens at EU High Court

Brexit Hearing Opens at EU High Court

BRUSSELS (AP) -- The European Union's highest court on Tuesday began considering whether Britain could unilaterally revoke its decision to leave the EU before the planned exit date of March 29.

The European Court of Justice on Tuesday opened the session, which will assess the issue under an accelerated procedure due to the urgency of Brexit.

Since Article 50 of the EU treaty of Lisbon dealing with the issue is scant on details — because it was expected that no member state would want to leave — a group of Scottish legislators want to know to what extend the U.K. can pull out of the withdrawal procedure on its own, amid increasing pressure from Brexit opponents for a second referendum on the decision to leave.

The court decision is expected to take several weeks but could also be dragged out into the new year, close to the departure date.

British Prime Minister Theresa May is making a blunt appeal to her electorate and lawmakers back home to support her divorce deal, arguing any alternative would be a jump into the unknown. The Scottish lawmakers want to make clear there is an alternative.

"On the verge of the most important vote in the U.K.'s recent history, many MPs are being pressured into believing that there is no alternative to no deal or May's deal," said Alyn Smith, a Scottish National Party member of the European Parliament who is part of the proceedings.

(KA)