19/07/2016 22:29 BST

Brexit Legal Challenege Sees Lawyers And Claimants Pilloried With 'Racist And Anti-Semitic Abuse'

The landmark legal case has sparked fury from Leave campaigners.

Peter Dazeley/Jupiterimages/Alex Segre via Getty
Claimants feared being identified in case they were targeted by abuse, it was alleged

Lawyers fighting Britain’s exit from the EU have been targeted with racist and anti-Semitic abuse, they claim. 

Representatives from law firm Mishcon de Reya said the publicity sparked by their landmark legal case had sparked “a large quantity of abuse” leveled against them.

The barristers are arguing that MPs, not the prime minister, should vote on Brexit before Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty invoked.

But the high-profile case saw Lord Pannick QC, instructed by Mishcon de Reya, claim members of the public had been deterred from making similar legal claims for fear of enduring abuse.

Bobby Yip / Reuters
Crossbench peer Lord Pannick is one of the lawyers representing a claimant fighting the PM's power to order Brexit

“It’s a very serious criminal matter for people to make threats,” The Guardian reported he said.

Sir Brian Leveson, one of the judges in charge of a hearing, in the High Court today, responded that making threats that interfere with the course of justice was “an extremely serious matter”.

He agreed to protect the identities of people who had first intended to join the action but were no longer claimants.

In the same hearing, the government’s lawyer representing Brexit Secretary David Davis confirmed that Britain would not begin its formal divorce from the EU before 2017.

“The current position is that notification will not occur before the end of 2016,” Jason Coppell said.

Despite the ongoing series of cases, Cabinet Office minister Oliver Letwin claimed on Monday that Theresa May could trigger Article 50 without the consent of Parliament. 

He did acknowledge there were “conflicting views” on the matter and predicted it would end up being settled in court.

It comes after a reported rise in ‘post-Brexit racism’, which has seen social media users highlight examples of abuse they have suffered since last month’s referendum.