The UK’s Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed a challenge over the lawfulness of the Northern Ireland protocol, the agreement that governs trade in the devolved nation following Britain’s exit from the EU.

A group of politicians including previous first ministers Arlene Foster and David Trimble brought the legal action. They claimed that the protocol was incompatible with existing legislation including the Acts of Union 1800, which stipulates that the people of Ireland should be on the same trade footing as those in the rest of the UK.

Those bringing the case alleged people living in Northern Ireland were not on the same footing following the implementation of the protocol because the agreement for example requires the payment of a charge on goods coming from the rest of the UK.

However, the Supreme Court dismissed the challenge on Wednesday, ruling that the protocol was lawful.

The justices said there had been intense parliamentary involvement in Britain’s withdrawal from the EU and the UK government was therefore authorised by the EU Withdrawal Agreement Act 2020 to draw up the Northern Ireland protocol.

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