Skip to content

Weekly Update 10 June 2022

Weekly Update 10 June 2022

Dear Friends,

Next week, if news reports are correct, the UK Government may publish a Bill authorising unilateral departures from the Northern Ireland Protocol to the UK-EU Withdrawal Agreement.

This prospect is provoking increasing Rule of Law concerns. Jesse Norman MP, a former Treasury minister in the current Government, wrote that breaching the Protocol would be "almost certainly illegal". This was one of several matters, along with the Prime Minister's response to the "culture of casual law-breaking" revealed by Partygate and the plans to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda, which he described as "of doubtful legality", that led Mr Norman to express concern about whether the Prime Minister was deviating from "a decent, proper conservatism" including "respect for the rule of law".

The background to the Northern Ireland Protocol issue is complex. Already, the UK has repeatedly delayed implementing some of the Protocol's provisions, arguing that the checks on goods passing between the UK mainland and Northern Ireland were giving rise to both economic and political difficulties. More recently, following the refusal of the Democratic Unionist Party to continue power-sharing in Northern Ireland unless the Protocol is reformed, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss have signalled that they will introduce legislation authorising further unilateral departures.

In this Update, we bring you legal analysis of the situation by the Bingham Centre's Oliver Garner, in a blog entitled "Why the EU Should Push the UK to Trigger Article 16 of the Northern Ireland Protocol", which maps out a possible route for the UK to pursue its plans within the framework of international legality.

The Update also highlights concerns in US political and legal circles about the impact of other proposed UK legislation on human rights in Northern Ireland. We honour the life of renowned peace activist Bruce Kent, who died this week. In Bruce's peace advocacy, he argued for the fundamental importance of the Rule of Law.

Our upcoming events section highlights the State of the Constitution conference on 22-23 June, hosted by the UCL Constitution Unit and organised in partnership with the Bingham Centre and other organisations. We also bring you details of online events on developments in trade law and the activities of the World Trade Organisation, organised by Bingham Centre Senior Fellow, Dr Julinda Beqiraj, on behalf of BIICL.

You can read the whole Weekly Update here.

Keep In Touch
Save and continue