• At Kemp Little, we are known for our ability to serve the very particular needs of a large but diverse technology client base. Our hands-on industry know-how makes us a good fit with many of the world's biggest technology and digital media businesses, yet means we are equally relevant to companies with a technology bias, in sectors such as professional services, financial services, retail, travel and healthcare.
  • Kemp Little specialises in the technology and digital media sectors and provides a range of legal services that are crucial to fast-moving, innovative businesses.Our blend of sector awareness, technical excellence and responsiveness, means we are regularly ranked as a leading firm by directories such as Legal 500, Chambers and PLC Which Lawyer. Our practice areas cover a wide range of legal issues and advice.
  • Our Commercial Technology team has established itself as one of the strongest in the UK. We are ranked in Legal 500, Chambers & Partners and PLC Which Lawyer, with four of our partners recommended.
  • Our team provides practical and commercial advice founded on years of experience and technical know-how to technology and digital media companies that need to be alert to the rules and regulations of competition law.
  • Our Corporate Practice has a reputation for delivering sound legal advice, backed up with extensive industry experience and credentials, to get the best results from technology and digital media transactions.
  • In the fast-changing world of employment law our clients need practical, commercial and cost-effective advice. They get this from our team of employment law professionals.
  • Our team of leading IP advisors deliver cost-effective, strategic and commercial advice to ensure that your IP assets are protected and leveraged to add real value to your business.
  • Our litigation practice advises on all aspects of dispute resolution, with a particular focus on ownership, exploitation and infringement of intellectual property rights and commercial disputes in the technology sector.
  • We have an industry-leading reputation for our outsourcing expertise. Our professionals deliver credible legal advice to providers and acquirers of IT and business process outsourcing (BPO) services.
  • We work alongside companies, many with disruptive technologies, that seek funding, as well as with the venture capital firms, institutional investors and corporate ventures that want to invest in exciting business opportunities.
  • Our regulatory specialists work alongside Kemp Little’s corporate and commercial professionals to help meet their compliance obligations.
  • With a service that is commercial and responsive to our clients’ needs, you will find our tax advice easy to understand, cost-effective and geared towards maximising your tax benefits.
  • At Kemp Little, we advise clients in diverse sectors where technology is fundamental to the ongoing success of their businesses.They include companies that provide technology as a service and businesses where the use of technology is key to their business model, enabling them to bring their product or service to market.
  • We bring our commercial understanding of digital business models, our legal expertise and our reputation for delivering high quality, cost-effective services to this dynamic sector.
  • Acting for market leaders and market changers within the media industry, we combine in-depth knowledge of the structural technology that underpins content delivery and the impact of digitisation on the rights of producers and consumers.
  • We understand the risks facing this sector and work with our clients to conquer those challenges. Testimony to our success is the continued growth in our team of professionals and the clients we serve.
  • We advise at the forefront of the technological intersection between life sciences and healthcare. We advise leading technology and data analytics providers, healthcare institutions as well as manufacturers of medical devices, pharmaceuticals and biotechnological products.
  • For clients operating in the online sector, our teams are structured to meet their commercial, financing, M&A, competition and regulatory, employment and intellectual property legal needs.
  • Our focus on technology makes us especially well positioned to give advice on the legal aspects of digital marketing. We advise on high-profile, multi-channel, cross-border cases and on highly complex campaigns.
  • The mobile and telecoms sector is fast changing and hugely dependent on technology advances. We help mobile and wireless and fixed telecoms clients to tackle the legal challenges that this evolving sector presents.
  • Whether ERP, Linux or Windows; software or infrastructure as a service in the cloud, in a virtualised environment, or as a mobile or service-oriented architecture, we have the experience to resolve legal issues across the spectrum of commercial computer platforms.
  • Our clients trust us to apply our solutions and know-how to help them make the best use of technology in structuring deals, mitigating key risks to their businesses and in achieving their commercial objectives.
  • We have extensive experience of advising customers and suppliers in the retail sector on technology development, licensing and supply projects, and in advising on all aspects of procurement and online operations.
  • Our legal professionals work alongside social media providers and users in relation to the commercial, privacy, data, advertising, intellectual property, employment and corporate issues that arise in this dynamic sector.
  • Our years of working alongside diverse software clients have given us an in-depth understanding of the dynamics of the software marketplace, market practice and alternative negotiating strategies.
  • Working with direct providers of travel services, including aggregators, facilitators and suppliers of transport and technology, our team has developed a unique specialist knowledge of the sector
  • Your life as an entrepreneur is full of daily challenges as you seek to grow your business. One of the key strengths of our firm is that we understand these challenges.
  • Kemp Little is trusted by some of the world’s leading luxury brands and some of the most innovative e-commerce retailers changing the face of the industry.
  • HR Bytes is an exclusive, comprehensive, online service that will provide you with a wide range of practical, insightful and current employment law information. HR Bytes members get priority booking for events, key insight and a range of employment materials for free.
  • FlightDeck is our portal designed especially with start-up and emerging technology businesses in mind to help you get your business up and running in the right way. We provide a free pack of all the things no-one tells you and things they don’t give away to get you started.

High Court Rules Government Cannot Trigger Article 50 without Consulting Parliament

On 3 November 2016 the High Court handed down its keenly awaited judgment in the case on whether the Government can trigger Article 50 of the Treaty of the European Union (Lisbon Treaty) without consulting Parliament, concluding that the Government cannot do so and that the decision can only be made by Parliament.[1]

The sole question for the High Court to decide was whether, as a matter of constitutional law, the Crown – acting through the executive Government of the day – is entitled to use its prerogative power to give notice under Article 50 for the UK to cease to be a member of the EU.  The court emphasised that it was only addressing a pure question of law and was not expressing any views on the merits of leaving or not leaving the EU.  

According to the court, “the most fundamental rule of UK constitutional law” is that Parliament is sovereign and that legislation enacted by Parliament is supreme. The court noted that “Parliament can, by enactment of primary legislation, change the law of the land in any way it chooses” and that there is no superior form of law than primary legislation unless Parliament has itself allowed that to happen.  The only example of this was the enactment of the European Communities Act 1972 (ECA 1972) when the UK joined the European Communities (which became the EU); the ECA 1972 confers primacy on EU law. [2]

The court explained that although as a general rule international relations, including the making and unmaking of treaties, is a matter for the Crown in exercise of its prerogative powers, the Government cannot through prerogative powers override legislation enacted by Parliament. In this case, if notice is given under Article 50, it will inevitably change domestic law, namely all of the elements of EU law which Parliament has made part of domestic law via the enactment of the ECA 1972. As a piece of primary legislation only Parliament has the power to repeal the ECA 1972.

Accordingly, the court did not accept the Government’s argument, calling it “flawed at [a] basic level” because it was contrary to the language of the ECA 1972 and the constitutional principle that the Government cannot alter the law of the land using prerogative powers.[3] Therefore the court held that the Government “has no prerogative power to effect a withdrawal from the Community Treaties on whose continued existence the EU law rights introduced into domestic law depend” and as a result those powers also cannot be used to effect withdrawal from those Treaties by giving notice under Article 50 to withdraw from the EU.[4]

The Government now has the right to appeal to the Supreme Court in December. It is expected that the Government will appeal. 

It remains to be seen how this judgment and the likely appeal to the Supreme Court will impact the timing announced previously by the Prime Minister that Article 50 would be triggered prior to the end of March 2017.

[1] The Queen on the application of Gina Miller & Deir Tozetti Dos Santos v The Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union Grahame Pigney & Others, https://www.judiciary.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/judgment-r-miller-v-secretary-of-state-for-exiting-the-eu-20161103.pdf

[2] The Queen on the application of Gina Miller & Deir Tozetti Dos Santos v The Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union Grahame Pigney & Others, Para 20 https://www.judiciary.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/judgment-r-miller-v-secretary-of-state-for-exiting-the-eu-20161103.pdf

[3] The Queen on the application of Gina Miller & Deir Tozetti Dos Santos v The Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union Grahame Pigney & Others, Para 85 https://www.judiciary.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/judgment-r-miller-v-secretary-of-state-for-exiting-the-eu-20161103.pdf

[4] The Queen on the application of Gina Miller & Deir Tozetti Dos Santos v The Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union Grahame Pigney & Others, Paras 92  https://www.judiciary.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/judgment-r-miller-v-secretary-of-state-for-exiting-the-eu-20161103.pdf

Contact our experts for further advice

Tania Williams, Lina Monten-Lister