Big response to barrister’s Brexit challenge

A French barrister seeking to challenge the legality of the Brexit referendum says he has had more than 100 witness statements since Connexion ran his story.

9 May 2017
By Oliver Rowland

“Thanks to the article, a lot of people have explained their situation – that they have been in France a long time and could not vote, and they encouraged me,” said Julien Fouchet, from Bordeaux.

“Now, I’ve been writing to them all and I have explained that if they want to help as much as possible they could take legal action with me; but I’ve not had much response to that so far. People have given their experiences but don’t necessarily want to go to court.” 

Mr Fouchet, of Cornille-Pouyanne avocats, said that he faces a potentially difficult task in having the General Court of the EU accept that his case may go ahead. He will argue that the fact that long-term expats could not vote in the EU referendum was unfair and broke EU rules on equal treatment for Brits in the UK and those living elsewhere. Ultimately he wants the referendum to be ruled illegal, so it is re-run allowing all British adults to take part.

However he says if more people accept to formally take part in the case, it is more likely to get the green light from the court. He is limiting his fees to a strict minimum and is putting a cap on the total amount, he said.  “Personally I am doing this out of European solidarity, not to enrich myself." 

It is possible that those taking part could be ordered compensation if the case goes on to a full hearing, but that would be at the discretion of the court, he said. Anyone considering taking part should therefore do so because they believe in justice of the case.

Mr Fouchet said that he will now have a maximum of two months from May 22, when the Council of the EU will formally publish its Brexit negotiation objectives, to submit his case.

In the meantime, he said he is preparing an English translation of his letter that he will also be sending to those who got in touch to help clarify the French legal terms.

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