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Weekly Update 10 December 2021

Weekly Update 10 December 2021

Dear Friends,

As England enters 'Plan B' restrictions in response to the Omicron COVID-19 variant, reports of a Christmas party at Downing Street last year when London was under 'Tier 3' restrictions on indoor gatherings have prompted commentators to ask a fundamental Rule of Law question: is there one rule for No 10 and another for the rest of the country?

The affair is the latest in a string of events, which have been analysed by the Bingham Centre since 2019, that the London Evening Standard claims increasingly suggests a "pattern of disdain for the Rule of Law". Legal defences of the government that rely upon the exemption of Crown land from the legal scope of the restrictions may call into question equality before the law between rulers and those who are ruled.

The extent to which the Rule of Law remains in good health in the UK was the subject of discussion at our event on The Rule of Law and the Future of Democracy at the British Academy this week (sponsored by the Jones Day Foundation) at which former Court of Appeal Judge Sir Jack Beatson talked about his new book The Rule of Law and the Separation of Powers, followed by a discussion with Supreme Court Justice Lord Philip Sales and Professor Aileen Kavanagh, Director of the Centre for Constitutional Governance at Trinity College Dublin. A recording of the event should be available next week.

Away from the domestic political turmoil, this week the Bingham Centre's activities have been focused around our Rule of Law and Europe work. We have published educational materials for young people on ten key topics related to the EU along with the University of Leuven as part of our dissemination role in the RECONNECT project. On 3 December, BIICL hosted the 60th anniversary London-Leiden Conference 2021, which included a panel considering the effect of Rule of Law backsliding in Central and Eastern European Member States for young people. Further events that we have convened in the last week include the Modern Slavery PEC event on the role of consumers in addressing modern slavery, and the 2021 BIICL WTO Conference on COVID-19 and World Trade: Resilience and Building Back Better.

Bingham Centre researchers have also been active in disseminating our work through podcasts. This includes a conversation about the Rule of Law with the new BIICL President and former President of the Supreme Court Lord David Neuberger, a podcast discussing the refugee crisis in the English channel by our Research Fellow Daniela Nadj, and a conversation between Research Fellow Oliver Garner and Barbara Grabowska-Moroz on the escalation of the Rule of Law crisis in Poland.

You can read the whole Weekly Update here.

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