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UK High Court to consider referendum on EU reform treaty

[JURIST] The UK High Court has agreed to consider whether the UK government must put the ratification of the new EU reform treaty [JURIST news archive], properly known as the Treaty of Lisbon [official website; PDF text], to a public vote. Influential UK Conservative Party donor Stuart Wheeler [BBC profile] launched a legal bid to force a referendum [JURIST report] in January, arguing that Prime Minister Gordon Brown [official website] had broken a pledge to hold a referendum on the pact warranting judicial review. Brown has said that a referendum is unnecessary because the treaty does not affect the UK constitution or impinge on British sovereignty.

Last year, UK Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs David Miliband [official profile] similarly rejected calls for a general referendum on the treaty, instead insisting [transcript] that it was sufficiently "different...in absolute essence" from the earlier draft European Constitution [JURIST news archive] that would have been put to a popular vote [JURIST report] had in stayed in play beyond political reversals in France and the Netherlands. Former Prime Minister Tony Blair rejected the referendum option [JURIST report] earlier last year before leaving office. BBC News has more.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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