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Lawyers crowdfunding for UK legal action

June 29, 2016

U.K. attorneys have raised more than 10,000 pounds ($13,000) to fund the opening salvo in what may be a multifaceted legal fight over the ins and outs of how Britain leaves the European Union.

Lawyer Jolyon Maugham said the money, raised via crowdfunding platform CrowdJustice, would go toward forcing the government to say whether Britain's Parliament or its prime minister is ultimately responsible for invoking Article 50, the EU exit clause which acts as a kind of eject button from the 28-nation bloc.

Thursday's referendum backed a British exit — or Brexit — from the EU, but the nature and timing of a prospective Article 50 declaration is still being hotly debated.

Maugham said that he wanted to make sure Parliament had the final say on quitting the EU.

That distinction may prove important if a euroskeptic takes over as prime minister following the Conservative Party leadership contest planned for later this year. Because a majority of U.K. lawmakers actually backed the bid to remain in the EU, die-hard "remain" fans see a conscience vote in Parliament as one of several scenarios for salvaging Britain's EU membership in defiance of the referendum result.

Constitutional experts say it's a long shot, but the legal maneuvering is likely portent of things to come as Britain struggles to disentangle itself from the union.

"There'll be other shots," Maugham said.

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