A group of UK expats is to launch a formal campaign and association to help with what it claims is the uncertainty that UK citizens living in Europe feel about their future post-Brexit, in the absence of any UK government plans or policies.
The new group, Fair Deal for Expats has launched a website and is officially launching its campaign in Lauzun, France, on 14 August, with plans to back a group legal action being heard by Sir Brian Leveson — of phone hacking inquiry fame in the UK High Court.
The group hopes to swell its ranks after initially being formed by a group of UK citizens living in south west France, who have taken the steps to create a voluntary unincorporated association compliant with French law.
In a statement released by the group, it claims to represent the interests of an estimated 1.3m UK citizens living and working in the EU and to be an umbrella for other expat associations with similar objectives. It also said that they are now speaking to UK citizens living in other EU Member States.
One of the first acts by Fair Deal is in relation to the case brought by Gina Miller and a number of other UK citizens. In July, the Brexit legal challenge began with Sir Brian Leveson — of phone hacking inquiry fame — and Mr Justice Cranston announcing that the full hearing will be heard in front of the Lord Chief Justice on an as yet unconfirmed date in October.
The High Court is being asked to decide whether the UK government may invoke Article 50 of the EU Treaty under its royal prerogative powers, or whether parliament must first pass legislation authorising the government to do so.
Fair Deal said that it has instructed specialist legal advisors Croft Solicitors and barristers Patrick Green QC, Henry Warwick and Matthieu Gregoire of Henderson Chambers. Some of Fair Deal’s members have been granted permission to intervene in the case, to ensure that expat voices are heard.
‘Unique legal issues’
Spokesperson for Fair Deal, John Shaw, said: “Our High Court initiative will ensure that the unique legal issues which pertain to UK expats are presented in the proceedings, the outcome of which will directly affect their lives and the lives of their families.
“The UK is a representative democracy. It is therefore right that those elected representatives in parliament have a hand in delivering Brexit. UK citizens who have made the EU their home, many of whom will have families and businesses on the continent, will be affected by the withdrawal of the UK from the EU.
“It is proper that their concerns and rights are considered during this process,” he said.
Fair Deal said that it is now focusing on recruiting more members determined to have a say in their future, reaching out to British expat groups, task forces, communities and individuals across the EU.
Shaw said that it is “crucial” that the group gathers information about how Brexit will affect expats across the EU, so that this can be presented in court and provided to MPs, lobbyists and representatives.
“British expats across the EU must speak up now,” said Shaw. “The more of us that do so, the louder we will be heard. Others across the EU have worked hard to establish groups to deal with the outcome of the referendum. It is crucial that we all unite.”