In Conversation with Gina Miller

 

Gina Miller talks to James Libson, the lead lawyer on the case, about the Article 50 legal challenge and the unexpected impact it had on her life.

Mishcon de Reya represented Gina Miller in her claim against the government: R (on the application of Miller and another) v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union. The action sought to clarify the procedural steps necessary for the UK to trigger Article 50 – the mechanism by which we exit the EU – in line with the UK constitution. On 24 January, the Supreme Court decided, by a majority of eight judges to three, that the Government can only trigger Article 50 – the process by which the UK can leave the EU – after an Act of Parliament has been passed. In this interview, with James Libson, the lead lawyer on the case, Gina talks about why she took on the Government, the controversy around it and the media and social media attention she received as a result of the case.

Mishcon Academy: In Conversation with Gina Miller  

James Libson
Executive Partner, Mishcon de Reya

We’ve just had a Mishcon Academy event where I was interviewing Gina Miller.  Gina, as most people will know, was the lead claimant in the Article 50 case that we brought to the Supreme Court.

Gina Miller
Entrepreneur and lead claimant in the Article 50 legal challenge

Having decided that somebody should stand up for Parliament I never envisaged that I would be the only person being identified as, if you like, the poster girl for the constitutional case.  My choices were very simple.  Do I walk away?  Or do I run with this?  And I believe there should be an element of transparency and accountability for all processes and nobody is above the law, and that includes the Prime Minister and the Executive.  And that’s why I decided to proceed with this.

James Libson
Executive Partner, Mishcon de Reya

I think two points that Gina spoke about today probably resonated the most.  The first was the personal abuse that she suffered during the case and then I think, more impressively, is what she has done using the platform that the Article 50 case has given her to carry on campaigning for the things that she believes in.

Gina Miller
Entrepreneur and lead claimant in the Article 50 legal challenge

As a campaigner against the Establishment in several arenas I understand backlash.  Believe me, I am not naïve.  I did not expect the levels at which it went to.  If you put to one side the negative there have been the most extraordinary things that have happened and they negate all the negative responses.

If it wasn’t for Mishcon this case would never have happened but I think it was the perfect marriage, actually, of two parties who believed in really very similar central principles which were about parliamentary sovereignty.  I think the rule of law takes on a huge importance when we are in very rocky times in society and there has to be some group of people who can step away and take very dispassionate decisions which is about right and wrong, about justice, about civility.

James Libson
Executive Partner, Mishcon de Reya

I think there are a couple of things that I hope people at Mishcon take away.  First of all, I think a sense of pride of us being associated with the case, it really was an exceptional case.  The second aspect I hope they will have got out of it is what it is to be a lawyer in society and we have a role to adhere to an uphold the rule of law, advocate for it and make sure that we play our part in a functioning democracy and, I think, an element of that we talked about today.