Tag Archives: Schrodinger’s Cat

Schrödinger’s Brexit

Metaphorical applications of the Schrodinger’s Cat thought-experiment


The probability that the cyanide will be released is a half. Until an observation forces the system into one of the two equally probable cat-life eigenstates, the box therefore contains the linear superposition of half a dead cat, and half a live cat.

If we get close to a default, no-deal Brexit again, next time with no extension on offer, we may discover the British PM’s as-yet-undisclosed belief as to the correct answer to an unresolved constitutional question. That question is what the constitutional requirements are for revoking the Article 50 notice already given.

There are actually two boxes, and two cats. There is what the constitutional requirements actually are, which only a court case can determine. I call that “the legal box“. And then there is what the PM thinks the constitutional requirements are, which I call “the mental box“.

A key question is whether there would need to be a new Act of Parliament before the PM could revoke Article 50 notice.

I went to bed on Wednesday night with that final hour less than two days in the future. I had spent the evening drafting a rough-and-ready judicial review application, which I would have filed in the Admin Court on Thursday morning with an application for urgent consideration (within two hours) of an interim remedy, an injunction until further order preventing the PM from purporting to revoke Article 50 notice without statutory authority, which we know she does not have yet.

Earlier on Wednesday, I had attended Court 37 at the Royal Courts of Justice, hoping to make an amateurish, free-standing and (it turned out) misconceived application for an urgent injunction, without having first made the necessary judicial review application needed to provide the injunction application with context. The judge kindly suggested starting again, in the Admin Court.

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