Written evidence submitted to the House of Commons Committee on the Future Relationship with the European Union: The EU-UK Joint Committee
This written evidence has been re-published on the Bingham Centre website with the kind permission of the House of Commons Committee on the Future Relationship with the European Union.
The key tasks that the Joint Committee and the Specialised Committees need to execute before the end of the transition period are determining the criteria for the functioning of the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland, implementing the citizens' rights provisions of the Withdrawal Agreement, and deciding whether to extend the transition period. COVID-19 has compelled the Joint Committee to operate via videoconference. This may facilitate decision-making especially in light of the UK's statutory bar on decision making via the written procedure. The UK has no legal framework for scrutiny of the Joint Committee beyond a requirement for a Minister to report annually on disputes. In contrast to the European Parliament, this means that the UK Parliament's scrutiny has been limited to ex post review of meetings. The Government and Parliament should facilitate ex ante scrutiny of the Joint Committee. It is also crucial for accessibility and clarity of the law that the Government makes publication of all decisions and recommendations the default practice.