Student leader will be Northern Ireland’s voice in London Brexit proceedings

Later this week judicial review proceedings are to commence in London against Theresa May’s Government in relation to the controversial use of the Royal Prerogative in relation to the invoking of Article 50. In what has been described as one of the most important constitutional cases of our time, it will decide whether it is for an appointed executive (the Government) or our democratically elected Sovereign Parliament to decide when and how the UK leaves the EU. It has been revealed today that a student leader in Northern Ireland is involved in the proceedings, and will through his legal team seek to challenge the use of the Royal Prerogative in the London High Court later this week.


NUS-USI President, Fergal McFerran has intervened in the case as part of ‘The People’s Challenge’, being heard in London in October to ensure due consideration is given to specific arguments in relation to Northern Ireland.  On Thursday, the High Court in London will hear arguments as to why it is unlawful for the Prime Minister to invoke Article 50 without the express authorisation of Parliament. Fergal McFerran, as an interested party has adduced evidence as to why the invoking of Article 50 requires primary legislation, the impact the entire process will have on NI, and in particular the profound impact it will have on students in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and the rest of the UK.


Fergal McFerran, NUS-USI President said:


“It is becoming increasingly clear that Theresa May and her Cabinet are as confused about the process of exiting the European Union as they are split over how they should do it.”


“The various implications that leaving the European Union will have for Northern Ireland are as complicated as they are damaging. As part of the People’s Challenge group my aim is to demonstrate that Brexit will have fundamental consequences for students both in Northern Ireland and right across the UK. Our only chance to raise these issues and get the answers we need is through the parliamentary process the government is trying to deny us.”


“I did not take the decision to become involved in these proceedings lightly, but Theresa May’s belief that she can circumvent Parliamentary scrutiny in the process of leaving the European Union is one that I could not allow to go unchallenged.”


“The news that has emerged in recent days that the British Government are suggesting aspects of border control could be delegated to Irish ports and airports is yet another example of why we need an injection of scrutiny and due process. The fact that these plans haven’t been examined in Westminster, let alone Stormont should concern us all.”


Darragh Mackin, Solicitor at KRW LAW said:


“It is unequivocally clear that Parliament legislated to make provision for those rights under the European Union.  Likewise, it is clear that Parliament must so legislate to remove those rights.  Our client is acutely conscious, and deeply troubled by the fact that invoking Article 50 through the Royal Prerogative would be neither transparent nor accountable to Parliament and would eliminate all meaningful involvement of the NI Executive and Assembly in the decisions that need to be made. 


It is against this backdrop that our client has sought to engage in the ongoing ‘People’s Challenge’ to provide evidence, that is relevant to this jurisdiction, and in turn is informative when the Court turns to consider the issue of exercising the prerogative.”    


“The huge support this case has received from the wider public through Crowd Funding, is in and of itself indicative of the support for the cross section of the population the ‘People’s Challenge’ seeks to represent”




Notes for Editors:


  1. Any queries should be directed to the Fergal’s solicitor, Darragh Mackin, KRW Law, at or +447976070023.


  1. Fergal McFerran is 24 years old and currently resides in Belfast. He is the current President of NUS-USI (National Union of Students – Union of students in Ireland), representing approximately 200,000 students in higher and further education across Northern Ireland.


  1. Further information about NUS-USI can be found at:


  1. The People’s Challenge group, alongside Fergal comprisesGrahame and Rob Pigney, a father and son, UK citizens now living in France; Paul Cartwright, a Gibraltarian national; Christopher Formaggia, who lives in Wales and Tahmid Chowdhury, a London student.


  1. The People’s Challenge Group have been funded entirely through voluntary donations from the general public. Through theirCrowdjustice page (, they have so far raised over £140,000 from over 4,000 individuals.


  1. KRW LAW LLP, Belfast are acting in conjunction with Bindmans LLP, London. KRW LAW LLP act on behalf of the NI based client Fergal McFerran.