Skip to content

Tags

Search
1 Clear this search

You are viewing EUROPE, All items

Murray Hunt

Biography Murray Hunt is the Director of the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law. He has a lifelong interest in the ways and means by which the values a society considers fundamental attain and keep a special normative status, how that special status can be reconciled with a commitment to representative democracy, and how to get practitioners and theorists to talk to each other about these questions so that practice is informed by theory, and theory informed by practice. From 2004 to 2017,…

EUROPE+1

Oliver Garner

Biography Dr. Oliver Garner is Maurice Wohl Research Fellow in European Rule of Law at the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law, British Institute of International and Comparative Law. He holds a B.A. in Jurisprudence from the University of Oxford, and an LL.M. in Comparative, European and International Laws and a Doctorate in Laws from the European University Institute (EUI). His Ph.D. research analysed withdrawal and opt-outs from the European Union. His work has been published in the…

EUROPE

Weekly Update 23 September 2022

Weekly Update 23 September 2022 Dear Friends, Welcome back to the Bingham Centre's Weekly Update, which resumes this week after a summer break. Much has changed over this period. The death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, who came to define the modern UK monarchy during her 70 years on the throne, has been widely mourned amid reflection on her extraordinary public service. The Queen performed the role of constitutional sovereign of the UK and other realms, as well as Head of the wider Commonwealth,…

EUROPE+2

Weekly Update 29 July 2022

Weekly Update 29 July 2022 Dear Friends, This is our last edition before the Weekly Update takes a break for the summer. We wish all Northern Hemisphere readers a respite from the widespread heatwaves, and look forward to bringing you more news from September. On 12 September, the UK's controversial "Bill of Rights" Bill is due to be debated in the House of Commons. The Bingham Centre already has a programme of work examining this Bill. This week, we are pleased to announce a joint project…

CITIZENSHIP+4

Weekly Update 8 July 2022

Weekly Update 08 July 2022 Dear Friends, How will the turmoil at the highest levels of the UK Government this week affect the Rule of Law? A Conservative Party leadership election will soon be held, following scandal-hit Prime Minister Boris Johnson's promise to step down. One of the main topics that leadership candidates will have to address is the restoration of standards in public life, and hopefully this will bring some attention to Rule of Law issues. The former Health Secretary Sajid…

EUROPE+2

Weekly Update 01 July 2022

Weekly Update 01 July 2022 Dear Friends, Public debate about the role of courts in protecting human rights has become increasingly bitter in both the UK and the USA in recent weeks. A particular approach to the interpretation of rights guarantees - the "living instrument" doctrine, which judges use to interpret rights in the light of contemporary social norms -has come under fire in both countries. In the UK, the Government argues that it has led the Strasbourg Court to be too generous in…

BUSINESS+5

Weekly Update 24 June 2022

Weekly Update 24 June 2022 Dear Friends, The UK Government published its Bill of Rights Bill this week. We are still analysing the substantive contents of this Bill, which, if enacted, would repeal the Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA) and replace it with a so-called "Bill of Rights". The Bill has profound implications for the effective protection of rights under the European Convention on Human Rights in UK law and for the devolution settlement, for which protection of Convention rights is…

CITIZENSHIP+2

Weekly Update 17 June 2022

Weekly Update 17 June 2022 Dear Friends, International law is the subject of one of the eight Rule of Law principles in Tom Bingham's The Rule of Law (2010). Lord Bingham argued that the Rule of Law "requires compliance by the state with its obligations in international law as in national law". He devoted a chapter of his book to this principle, in which the most controversial issue discussed was the 2003 Iraq war, perhaps reflecting the fact that the UK's basis for participating in the…

EUROPE+2

Does the Vienna Convention provide a legal off-ramp for unilaterally changing the Northern Ireland Protocol?

Reposted with permission from UK Constitutional Law Association Blog  The Northern Ireland Protocol is part of the Withdrawal Agreement, designed to set out the legal parameters of the withdrawal of the UK from the EU. The Government proposes to introduce legislation to unilaterally change the Protocol. On the face of it, this would appear to place the Government on the highway to a breach of international law. But are there any off-ramps which allow it to avoid this destination?…

EUROPE+2

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…

EUROPE+1

Weekly Update 27 May 2022

Weekly Update 27 May 2022 Dear Friends, This week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that he took "full responsibility" for a series of parties in Downing Street that had breached COVID-19 regulations and led to him being fined by the Metropolitan police, among a total of 126 fines issued. Yet he did not resign. The "Partygate" scandal is not only about breaches of the criminal law, which some have likened to mere "parking fines", while others have recalled the serious public health purpose…

CITIZENSHIP+2

Weekly Update 13 May 2022

Weekly Update 13 May 2022 Dear Friends, The UK Government's legislative programme for 2022-2023 was announced in the Queen's Speech in Parliament on Tuesday. In accordance with tradition the speech was written by the Government and it was read on this occasion by Prince Charles. It is curious that the speech did not explicitly mention the Government's plans to legislate contrary to the Northern Ireland Protocol to the UK-EU Withdrawal Agreement. Perhaps this was a tactful omission which…

brexit+5

Weekly Update 29 April 2022

Weekly Update 29 April 2022 Dear Friends, What is the state of the Rule of Law in Europe today, and what can be done to strengthen it? This question has become ever more important - even for mainstream politicians - in the context of the war in Ukraine, increasingly bitter disputes about democratic "backsliding", and a growing body of regional Rule of Law standards and monitoring mechanisms. For some, the European Rule of Law glass is half-full, while others insist that it is half-empty. This…

CITIZENSHIP+4

Weekly Update 8 April 2022

Weekly Update 8 April 2022 Dear Friends, On Sunday 3 April, Viktor Orbán's Fidesz party won the Hungarian parliamentary elections, with an increased share of the popular vote (54%). This ensured that it would retain a two-thirds "super-majority" in the legislature, and with it the ability to amend the Hungarian constitution. The victory means a fourth straight term as Prime Minister for Orbán, and the continuation of his project of "illiberal democracy" in opposition to the broad European…

DIGITAL AGE+5

Weekly Update 18 March 2022

Weekly Update 18 March 2022 Dear Friends, In a development with truly momentous implications for the post-War European architecture designed to uphold the Rule of Law, democracy, and human rights across the continent, Russia was expelled from the Council of Europe this week. Following an extraordinary debate in the Parliamentary Assembly, culminating in an Opinion that Russia should cease to be a member of the organisation set up after World War II "to achieve a greater unity between…

DIGITAL AGE+3

Weekly Update 25 February 2022

Weekly Update 25 February 2022 Dear Friends, The Russian invasion of Ukraine, which President Putin claims to be justified in international law, is in fact a grave breach of international law, as explained by Professor Andrew Clapham, an expert on the Law of War, in last week's Matrix podcast Russia-Ukraine: What's Law got to do with it?. In a stark repudiation of multilateralism and the rules-based international order, the attack began in the early hours of Thursday while the UN Security…

EUROPE+1

Weekly Update 11 February 2022

Weekly Update 11 February 2022 Dear Friends, Rule of Law arguments continue to make the headlines. In a wide-ranging lecture entitled 'In democracy we trust?' to the Institute of Government on Thursday, the former Prime Minister Sir John Major stated that "The Prime Minister and our present Government not only challenge the law, but also seem to believe that they - and they alone - need not obey the rules". The continuing fallout from the "partygate" revelations for trust in the Government…

CITIZENSHIP+4

Weekly Update 4 February 2022

Weekly Update 4 February 2022 Dear Friends, This week we learnt from the Gray inquiry update that police are investigating 12 gatherings in or around the UK Prime Minister's offices at 10 Downing Street for possible breaches of Coronavirus regulations. The intense public interest in 'partygate' has shown how much the Rule of Law matters to people. However, threats to the Rule of Law are not always so well publicised or widely understood. In this week's Update, we bring you news of our…

COVID-19+3

Weekly Update 28 January 2022

Weekly Update 28 January 2022 Dear Friends, "Nobody is above the law. This is important for ensuring the necessary degree of trust between the public and government." These are the words of former Prime Minister Theresa May, as quoted this week by a local newspaper in her Maidenhead constituency. This week, the Metropolitan Police announced a criminal investigation into 'partygate', as the scandal about alleged breaches of Coronavirus regulations by politicians and public officials at…

COVID-19+3

Weekly Update 14 January 2022

Weekly Update 14 January 2022 Dear Friends, A New Year, but not a fresh start, as the same Rule of Law story dominates the headlines: has the Government regarded itself as above the law that it has laid down for the rest of us? Two years on from the start of the pandemic, the Prime Minister apologised in the House of Commons on Wednesday for his attendance at a gathering in the 10 Downing Street garden at the height of the first lockdown on 20 May 2020. The affair may prove to be a stress…

EUROPE+1

Weekly Update 17 December 2021

Weekly Update 17 December 2021 Dear Friends, It has been a dramatic week. The UK Government's cavalier attitude to the Rule of Law was partly responsible for the collapse in the Prime Minister's political authority over his own MPs on Tuesday, as almost 100 of them voted against the latest Coronavirus measures, amidst mounting anxiety that the system for making such significant laws in a hurry is no longer fit for purpose. And the growing sense that the Government considers itself above…

CITIZENSHIP+8

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…

EUROPE+2

Weekly Update 26 November 2021

Weekly Update 26 November 2021 Dear Friends, This morning brought news headlines of a significant Coronavirus variant, B.1.1.529, which has been identified in Southern Africa. While this intensifies the public health crisis in that region, already the worst affected on the African continent, the rest of the world is moving swiftly to counter the spread of this variant. The 'red-listing' travel restrictions announced by the UK government have been matched by similar measures taken by many other…

COVID-19+2

Expert analysis of the applicability of Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights to the constitutional courts of the States Parties, requested by the Polish Commissioner for Human Rights in the context of the case K 6/21

Executive Summary This expert analysis considers the applicability of Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) to the constitutional courts of the States Parties. Article 6 ECHR guarantees the right to a fair trial before a tribunal established by law for individuals whenever their civil rights and obligations or criminal liabilities are in question. The States Parties to the Convention have explicitly granted the European Court of Human Rights the competence to interpret…

EUROPE+1

Weekly Update 19 November 2021

Weekly Update 19 November 2021 Dear Friends, On Monday 22 November, the Bingham Centre will hold an event in Belfast, on the topic of the UK Government's Legacy Proposals and the Rule of Law. The Legacy Proposals include a statute of limitations, preventing investigations and prosecutions on all Troubles-related incidents in Northern Ireland, as well as a bar on all civil claims and inquests arising out of the Troubles. This week, a bipartisan group of 21 members of the US Congress published…

CITIZENSHIP+2

Weekly Update 5 November 2021

Weekly Update 5 November 2021 Dear Friends, The Rule of Law was once again front and centre in UK news this week, as the Government appeared to seek to avoid the application of the rules for upholding parliamentary standards to one of the governing party's former ministers. One of the central and most easily understood ideas inherent in the Rule of Law is that laws and rules apply to everyone, including the Government. Governments which seek to avoid the rules applying to them demonstrate…

CITIZENSHIP+2

Weekly Update 29 October 2021

Weekly Update 29 October 2021 Dear Friends, In a week which saw the EU's Rule of Law stand-off with Poland come to a head, and the UK House of Commons debate for the first time the Government's Judicial Review and Courts Bill, we are reminded of how fundamentally important the Rule of Law is to the health and well-being of democratic societies. The invisible underpinning that it provides to democracy has been taken for granted for so long that we need to ensure that we remain vigilant…

CITIZENSHIP+3

Modifying Retained EU law in the UK: Increasing Rule of Law Concerns?

This post has been cross-posted  with the kind permission of the RECONNECT blog.  Introduction Despite withdrawal from the EU, the UK remains committed to constitutional values that are also found in Article 2 TEU. Indeed, the EU-UK future relationship is predicated upon both parties upholding fundamental rights and the Rule of Law . In the European Union (Withdrawal) Act (EU(W)A) 2018 , the UK government decided to keep all EU law in force in the UK after Brexit as a…

EUROPE+2

Weekly Update 22 October 2021

Weekly Update 22 October 2021 Dear Friends, This week, we held our first live panel discussion for 18 months - on the subject of ​​Build Back Better: Online Civil Justice after the Pandemic. ​​To examine the rapid spread of online court proceedings, and discuss their future after the pandemic, we worked with the City of London Corporation and the Magna Carta Trust to bring together a panel of distinguished speakers from the judiciary, legal profession and civil society. The event took…

CITIZENSHIP+3

Weekly Update 15 October 2021

Weekly Update 15 October 2021 Dear Friends, Rule of Law principles provide a valuable framework for scrutiny of legislation, policy and practice, whether the context is emergencies such as the Coronavirus pandemic, or longstanding challenges facing society. This week, we bring you news of our engagement with UK Coronavirus legislation, Black History Month and the UK legal profession, European debates about rebuilding the Rule of Law in illiberal democracies and reviewing counter-terrorism…

CITIZENSHIP+4

Weekly Update 8 October 2021

Weekly Update 8 October 2021 Dear Friends, The Coronavirus pandemic has severely tested all branches of Government. On the Parliamentary front, we bring you news of our joint webinar on Parliamentary Review of the Coronavirus Act 2020: Scrutiny Delayed, or Scrutiny Denied?, which will take place on 14th October, in the run-up to a debate in which Parliament must decide on the future of this far-reaching Act. The Executive branch of Government, and new agencies such as NHS Test and Trace,…

CITIZENSHIP+3

Weekly Update 1 October 2021

Weekly Update 1 October 2021 Dear Friends, The Bingham Centre welcomes the initiative of the Scottish Government in setting out proposals to establish a public inquiry into the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in Scotland. In this week's Update we share our submission on the scope of the Scottish inquiry, in which we emphasised that it should examine Rule of Law issues. We also bring you news of an inquiry submission on Closed Material Procedures, our public engagement activities in schools,…

CITIZENSHIP+4

Weekly Update 17 September 2021

Weekly Update 17 September 2021 Dear Friends, This is our first Update since the summer break. As the UK prepares to host the COP26 Climate Conference in November, we are mindful that the Rule of Law has a part to play in tackling the planet-wide problems caused by human climate change. Combatting and mitigating the climate crisis requires more than bold ideas. It also requires effective forms of accountability, to ensure that agreed actions are implemented and sustained. In other words,…

EUROPE+2

Written evidence submitted to the House of Commons European Scrutiny Committee inquiry: The institutional framework of the UK/EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement

This written evidence  has been re-published on the Bingham Centre website with the kind permission of the House of Commons European Scrutiny Committee . Executive Summary The TCA Partnership Council (PC) has the power to make legally binding decisions, and to oversee implementation and application. The Specialised Committees have the power to assist in this function. This extends to the development of the TCA in areas such as mutual recognition of professional qualifications,…

EUROPE+1

Ensuring greater protection for fundamental rights in developing EU counter-terrorism policies

This piece is cross-posted  with the kind permission of the RECONNECT project , with the piece originally appearing on 20th May 2021. While the global pandemic has reframed consideration of threats to safety and security, the attacks in France and Austria  are a reminder of the continued dangers from terrorism in Europe. The EU has played a pivotal role in developing European counter-terrorism law and policy since 2001. It has adopted over 200 counter-terrorism related…

EUROPE+1

A new instrument to uphold the Rule of Law in EU Member States: the ‘Regulation on a general regime of conditionality for the protection of the Union budget’ and its contested implementation

This piece has been cross-posted with permission from the RECONNECT blog, where it was first published on 19 January 2021. A survey commissioned by the European Parliament  conducted in the 27 Member States shows that 77% of European Union (EU) citizens agree that EU funds should be made conditional upon the national government's implementation of the rule of law and of democratic values. On 16 December 2020, the EU adopted the "Regulation on a general regime of conditionality for the…

EUROPE+2

United Kingdom Internal Market Bill: A Rule of Law Analysis of Clauses 42 to 45 (updated for Report Stage)

Executive Summary This Report sets out in brief the Bingham Centre's Rule of Law analysis of clauses 42 to 45 of the UK Internal Market Bill, to inform the consideration of those clauses by the House of Commons at the Bill's Report Stage on Tuesday 29th September. The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland candidly admitted, before the Bill's introduction, that these clauses breach international law. However, the Government now claims differently. It seeks to argue that the clauses…

EUROPE+1

A Barrier against the new incoming tide? The UK Internal Market Bill and Dispute Resolution under the Withdrawal Agreement and the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland (23 September update)

This piece is cross-posted with the kind permission of the UK Constitutional Law Association blog. The piece originally appeared on 17 September 2020 . This version has been updated in light of developments, and feedback received on the original version. The author is grateful to Steve Peers and Andrew Chapman in this regard. Brexit déjà vu On 14 September 2020, the United Kingdom Internal Market Bill ('UKIMB' or 'the Bill')  passed at Second Reading in the House of Commons. The…

EUROPE+2

United Kingdom Internal Market Bill: A Rule of Law Analysis of Clauses 42 to 45

Executive Summary  This Report sets out in brief the Bingham Centre's Rule of Law analysis of clauses 42 to 45 of the UK Internal Market Bill, to inform the consideration of those clauses by the House of Commons in Committee of the Whole House on Monday 21st September.  In clauses 42 to 45 of the Bill, the Government is asking Parliament to legislate in deliberate breach of the UK's international obligations. The Bill would authorise future breaches of international law by ministerial…

EUROPE

Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill: A Rule of Law Analysis

Executive Summary The Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill will end freedom of movement for EU citizens. Although the broad policy thrust of the Bill is clear, there is a conspicuous lack of detail. This undermines the Rule of Law value of legal certainty. Parliament is being asked to sign a blank cheque, leaving it to the Government to fill in the details later. The inclusion of very broad Henry VIII powers allowing the Secretary of State to make regulations…

EUROPE+2

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. Executive Summary 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…

EUROPE

Brexit, Delegated Powers and Delegated Legislation: a Rule of Law Analysis of Parliamentary Scrutiny

Brexit has reopened long running debates over the impact of delegated powers and delegated legislation on Parliament's role in the legislative process. The legislative process in Parliament enables parliamentarians to hold the government to account for proposed changes to the statute book, to amend bills and to decide whether a government bill should be enacted. The government's reliance on delegated powers and delegated legislation to deliver Brexit has raised concerns that parliamentarians…

EUROPE+1

The EU-UK Future Relationship and the Rule of Law

Executive Summary The EU and the UK have begun negotiating their future relationship. The two sides disagree over the structure of the agreement(s), the legal form of any commitments to maintain common standards, and dispute resolution. Each of these disagreements highlights the unprecedented nature of these negotiations: this is the first time the EU has negotiated an international agreement with a state after it has withdrawn from the EU through Article 50 TEU . The condensed…

EUROPE+1

The EU-UK Future Relationship and the Rule of Law

On 9 March 2020 the Bingham Centre hosts the event 'Divergence and alignment: The Rule of Law implications of the future relationship with the EU' . This Comment piece sets out the key themes. The EU and the UK have begun negotiating their future relationship. The two sides disagree  over the structure of the agreement(s), the legal form of any commitments to maintain common standards, and dispute resolution. Each of these disagreements highlights the unprecedented nature of these…

EUROPE+1

Consult beyond the usual suspects to renew the constitution

The Prime Minister has delivered on his General Election promise of "getting Brexit done". Having completed one totemic mission, he must now salve tensions that have been exposed by Brexit. The Queen's Speech contained a pledge to establish the Constitution, Democracy and Rights Commission to "develop proposals to restore trust in how our democracy operates". This is a tough ask. If this Commission is going to deliver then the Government should make sure that it is set up to empower citizens…

CITIZENSHIP+1

The European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill and the Rule of Law

The general election on 12 December 2019 has fundamentally changed the political dynamic driving the Brexit process. The European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill (WAB), which will become law before 31 January 2020, has been substantially revised (from the version which was presented in October 2019) to reflect this Government's approach to Brexit. The Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law has published a report  that looks in depth at some of the main Rule of Law issues in the WAB. This…

EUROPE+1

The European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill and the Rule of Law

The European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill (WAB) is a Bill of paramount constitutional importance. The aim of this report is to examine a number of Rule of Law issues raised by the WAB. This report uses the Rule of Law checklist adopted by the Venice Commission in 2016 to inform its analysis of the WAB. These Rule of Law standards provide a guide to the core elements of the Rule of Law, for which consensus can be found amongst the 47 States of the Council of Europe. The Venice…

EUROPE+1

The infringement action against the UK for failing to nominate a new Commissioner

The further extension  of the UK's membership to 31 January sees the UK remain a Member State beyond the re-scheduled date of 1 December for the new Commission to assume office. This has prompted the incoming Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to request the United Kingdom Prime Minister to nominate a Commissioner. On 13 November the United Kingdom informed  the European Commission that it would not appoint a new Commissioner before the national General Election on 12 December.…

EUROPE

A majority government will not guarantee constitutional stability

In UK general elections, the main political parties campaign to convince the electorate that they are deserving of a stable majority in the Commons. A stable majority is a pre-requisite to be able to deliver, via legislation, the policies promised in their manifestos. In this general election, each of the main parties are promising that they would use a majority to enact significant constitutional change to deliver their Brexit policies. In the Brexit context, this has led to a narrative that…

EUROPE+2

The ‘Brexit’ Parliament 2017-19

Amidst the sound and fury of the general election campaign, Dr Jack Simson Caird takes a step back to assess how the 'Parliament of two halves' contributed to the Brexit process The 2017 Parliament was brought to an end with the Prime Minister citing parliamentary opposition to Brexit in justification of an early general election. Parliament's role in the Brexit process has been a focal point of political debate since 2016, culminating in the 'People vs Parliament' narrative which is now…

EUROPE+1

Why the new Speaker may not always be able to play a straight bat

On 4 November, the House of Commons elected Lindsay Hoyle to serve as Speaker, following the resignation of John Bercow. It has been treated as accepted wisdom that a different approach to the Speakership is called for. However, Bercow has taken decisions about the Commons' handling of Brexit in circumstances where several - or all - of the available choices were potentially controversial. Jack Simson Caird argues that his successor might therefore find that trying to 'play a straight bat'…

EUROPE+1

The new Irish Protocol could lead to the indefinite jurisdiction of the EU Court of Justice within the UK

The United Kingdom will hold a General Election on 12 December 2019. The result may determine whether Boris Johnson's renegotiated Withdrawal Agreement that removed the Irish backstop comes into force. One issue that has not been as prominent in the debate is that the new Irish Protocol could lead to the indefinite jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the European Union within the United Kingdom.  The new Protocol  on Ireland/Northern Ireland in the Withdrawal Agreement between…

EUROPE

No Deal Brexit, Business and the Rule of Law

The profound changes that would accompany a No Deal Brexit will transform the legal environment in which business operates, from changing the terms of trade relationships in Europe, to the structure of regulation and the content of laws. This paper explores the consequences for the Rule of Law for Business from these changes, by drawing on the perspectives of experts from the Bingham Centre's business network and other Brexit experts. Our interviews revealed that the search for certainty…

BUSINESS+1

Why the UK’s demands on the Irish Backstop would undermine the EU legal order

Introduction The UK Government and the European Union are renegotiating the Withdrawal Agreement. The former seeks the removal of the 'Irish Backstop' on the basis of its 'undemocratic character' which it claims infringes upon the sovereignty of the United Kingdom. The European Parliament has passed a resolution that it will not consent to any Withdrawal Agreement without an Irish Backstop, in direct contravention to the UK's position. The Prime Minister has asked the European Council President…

EUROPE

The Supreme Court and Parliament: The Constitutional Status of Checks and Balances

There have been two competing visions of the constitution battling it out since the Brexit referendum in 2016, which David Howarth described on this blog  as the Whitehall view and the Westminster view. The Whitehall view is that the UK constitution, and the relationship between Parliament and Government in particular, is designed to allow the Government of the day to deliver its promises to the electorate. Parliament's role is to scrutinise how those promises, as well the everyday decisions…

EUROPE+1

Our democracy will be enhanced by the Supreme Court’s prorogation ruling

The fact that the Supreme Court is scrutinising the legality of a decision taken by the prime minister is unusual. For some observers, its role this week in the latest Brexit drama is a sign that things have gone wrong with the UK constitution: judges should stay out of politics and stick to the law. The problem with this view is that it is premised on a rigid and outdated dichotomy between a "political" and a "legal" constitution. That crude distinction fundamentally misunderstands the dynamic…

EUROPE

Let’s not divide the Supreme Court into Leavers and Remainers: the need for a better understanding of our judiciary has never been greater

On 24 September 2019 the UK Supreme Court found unanimously that the Prorogation of Parliament was unlawful. The Judges have already been subjected to attacks on social media by the 'Leave.EU' campaign resorting to the notorious 'Enemies of the People'  headline used by the Daily Mail in 2016. Before the judgment Jan van Zyl Smit (Senior Research Fellow and Acting Deputy Director of the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law) argued that we should not divide the Supreme Court into Leavers…

EUROPE+1

Process of discovery

What Brexit has taught us so far: with Parliament standing prorogued, the Commons Speaker gives a robust defence of Parliament's role as a check on executive 'malpractice' and pledges all the 'procedural creativity' necessary. On 12 September 2019, John Bercow MP, the Speaker of the House of Commons, delivered the Annual Bingham Lecture , entitled 'Process of Discovery: what Brexit has taught us (so far) about Parliament, Politics and the UK Constitution' to a packed Middle Temple Hall.…

EUROPE+2

The Benn-Burt Extension Act: A roadblock to a No-deal Brexit?

Introduction: Extension and the Rule of Law On 9 September, the EU (Withdrawal) (No.2) Act 2019   ('Benn-Burt Extension Act') received Royal Assent. The Benn-Burt Extension Act imposes a statutory duty upon the Prime Minister (if the relevant conditions are met) to request and accept an extension of the withdrawal negotiating period under Article 50(3) TEU. However, the Prime Minister has repeatedly stated  that he will not request such an extension, ostensibly in clear conflict…

EUROPE+2

Weekly Update

On 12 September, the Speaker of the House of Commons, the Rt Hon John Bercow MP gave the Sixth Annual Bingham Lecture in Middle Temple Hall. The Speaker's Lecture was titled: 'Process of Discovery: What Brexit has taught us (so far) about Parliament, Politics and the UK Constitution'. The Speaker's lecture was live streamed and footage is available here . The lecture was covered by the Guardian, ITV news, the BBC, the Huffington Post and the Financial Times. The Speaker's lecture…

EUROPE+2

Sixth Annual Bingham Centre Lecture

Sixth Annual Bingham Lecture Event - Tags Share Links    Event Details The Sixth Annual Bingham Centre Lecture:  'Process of Discovery: What Brexit has taught us (so far) about Parliament, Politics and the UK Constitution' Date: 12 September 2019 Time: 18:00-19:00 (registration from 17:30), followed by a drinks reception Venue: Middle…

EUROPE

Sixth Annual Bingham Lecture

On 12 September, the Speaker of the House of Commons, the Rt Hon John Bercow MP gave the Sixth Annual Bingham Lecture in Middle Temple Hall. The Speaker's Lecture was titled: 'Process of Discovery: What Brexit has taught us (so far) about Parliament, Politics and the UK Constitution'. The Speaker's lecture was live streamed and footage will be available on our website in due course. The lecture was covered by the Guardian , ITV news , the BBC , the Huffington Post  and the…

EUROPE+2

Brexit and the UK Political and Constitutional Crisis: Prorogation and the Case for Constitutional Reform

The Government's decision to prorogue Parliament on 9 September (the Brexit Prorogation) has exposed an uncomfortable truth: the UK constitution does not provide strong legal limits on some of the executive's most constitutionally significant powers. The legality of the government's decision to request a prorogation will be determined by the Supreme Court on 19 September. Whether or not the Supreme Court decides that the government's decision was unlawful, the Brexit prorogation has highlighted…

EUROPE+1

In a Democracy the Rule of Law means Parliament is supreme over the Executive

Murray Hunt considers why the Rule of Law is relevant to the current constitutional confrontation between the UK Government and Parliament Whenever the political temperature rises dramatically, invocation of the Rule of Law is seldom far behind. It is frequently enlisted by both sides in a political dispute, as a high-minded weapon to deploy on political opponents. All too often it is used in a rhetorical way, to lend extra weight to a political argument that the other side are doing something…

EUROPE+2

The Brexit Prorogation: an unsustainable constitutional confrontation

Jack Simson Caird explains the strategic logic of the decision to prorogue Parliament. He writes that the government seems to be seeking confrontation with Parliament not just over Brexit, but over different visions of the constitution and democracy. So, unlike May's Government, Johnson's is willing to deploy all the means at its disposal in order to realise its visions. The government's decision to prorogue Parliament between 9-12 September to 14 October is based on overlapping strategic…

EUROPE+1

APPG on the Rule of Law: The EU Settlement Scheme

Background On Tuesday 16 July 2019, the APPG for the Rule of Law met to discuss the Rule of Law implications of the EU Settlement Scheme. The meeting was convened to discuss a new Public Law Project report, authored by Dr Joe Tomlinson, titled 'Quick and Uneasy Justice: An Administrative Justice Analysis of the EU Settlement Scheme'  which offers an end-to-end administrative justice analysis of the design, and thus the underpinning values, of the Scheme. Dominic Grieve QC MP chaired a…

DIGITAL AGE+1

APPG on the Rule of Law: The Rule of Law Implications of the EU Settlement Scheme

The EU Settlement Scheme: the Rule of Law Implications The creation of the EU Settlement Scheme, a consequence of the UK's decision to withdraw from the European Union, is said to set 'the tone for the design and values' of the new post-Brexit immigration system. While much has been written about the substantive legal changes this entails, a new Public Law Project report, authored by Dr Joe Tomlinson, titled 'Quick and Uneasy Justice: An Administrative Justice Analysis of the EU Settlement…

DIGITAL AGE+1

Are we in a constitutional crisis or is this the UK constitution at work?

Are we in a constitutional crisis or is this the UK constitution at work? The referendum result in 2016 represented the beginning of a process of constitutional change in the UK. How the UK's uncodified constitution will be changed, or even whether the UK will leave the EU at all, is currently uncertain. If the UK leaves the EU on 31 October 2019, then the UK constitution and its three legal systems will change significantly on exit day. The nature of the change that takes place on exit day…

EUROPE

Parliament must act quickly to exert influence if it wishes to prevent a ‘no deal’ Brexit

In four months' time, the extension to the Article 50 period agreed in April will expire. The UK will have a new Prime Minister by then, although it remains unclear what position they will take if the Commons continues to refuse to approve the Withdrawal Agreement. Jack Simson Caird analyses the legal and political mechanisms available should parliament seek to prevent the next Prime Minister taking the UK out of the EU without a deal. Boris Johnson has said that if he is the next Prime Minister…

EUROPE+1

Jack Simson Caird on BBC Parliament

Jack Simson Caird was interviewed on BBC Parliament's the Week in Parliament on whether Parliament can block a No Deal Brexit on 31 October 2019. 

EUROPE

APPG on the Rule of Law: Can Parliament stop a no deal Brexit?

APPG on the rule of Law: Can parliament stop a no deal Brexit? A recent Institute for Government comment arguing that Parliament would not be able to stop a Prime Minister determined to deliver no deal has provoked significant debate. This roundtable is being convened to debate the argument advanced in the comment piece and to consider the possible steps that Parliament could take to prevent a no deal exit. Chair Dominic Grieve QC MP, Chair of the APPG on the Rule of Law…

EUROPE+1

Brexit and the constitution: seven lessons

This article originally appeared in the June issue of Counsel and is reprinted with permission. Brexit can plausibly be described as a 'constitutional moment'. The decision to leave the EU will shape the UK constitution over the coming decades. Even if the full extent of the constitutional changes that will flow from Brexit are not yet known, future Prime Ministers will be defined (in part, at least) by their ability to oversee successful constitutional reform. The post-referendum period has…

EUROPE

Jack Simson Caird on All Out Politics on Sky News with Adam Boulton

Jack Simson Caird appeared on All Out Politics on Sky News with Adam Boulton to discuss the parliamentary dynamics of getting the EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill through the Commons.

EUROPE

Jack Simson Caird gave oral evidence to the House of Commons' Liaison Committee

Jack Simson Caird gave oral evidence to the House of Commons' Liaison Committee in its inquiry into how select committees can improve their scrutiny of Government Jack's evidence focused on how Select Committees could improve their scrutiny of the Brexit process, and in particular how the lessons from the Article 50 process could be used to improve scrutiny of the negotiations on the future relationship. You can see clips of Jack's evidence here, watch the full session, read his written submission…

EUROPE

Brexit: Is the UK’s ‘Constitutional Moment’ here at last?

This article was originally published on the UK Human Rights Blog. Codified constitutions are most commonly adopted following a major schism with the previous order. For example, following an armed uprising such as the American War of Independence or the French Revolution. The sweeping away of the old regime, of necessity, demands the creation of new fundamental principles and rules to organise the State. A codified constitution also presents an opportunity to set out the core values on which…

EUROPE

APPG on the Rule of Law: Parliament, Brexit and the Rule of Law

'Brexit, Parliament and The Rule of Law: extending Article 50 and implementing the Withdrawal Agreement' 'Brexit, Parliament and The Rule of Law: extending Article 50 and implementing the Withdrawal Agreement' This meeting considered the events leading up to 29 March and discussed Rule of Law challenges facing Parliament. Chair Dominic Grieve QC MP, Chair of the APPG on the Rule of Law Speakers Professor Kenneth Armstrong, Professor of European Law at the University…

EUROPE+1

Jack Simson Caird being interviewed by Adam Boulton on Sky News

Jack Simson Caird, Senior Research Fellow in Parliaments and the Rule of Law, spoke to Adam Boulton on Sky News about the second round of indicative votes designed to ascertain the level of support in the Commons for a range of Brexit options Jack predicted that it is very hard to see this Parliament legislating its way out of the situation. All the main options other than no deal need legislation: the Prime Minister's deal, a referendum, or revocation of Article 50. The only options that…

EUROPE

Jack Simson Caird on BBC World News’ coverage of the Meaningful Vote on the Brexit deal

Jack Simson Caird's appearance on the BBC World News' coverage of the Meaningful Vote on the Brexit deal in the House of Commons Jack discussed the likely impact on the meaningful vote of the Attorney General's advice on whether the additional agreements with the EU changed the legal risk of the UK being unable to exit from the Northern Ireland backstop.

EUROPE

MPs’ powers of persuasion are shaping the Brexit endgame

This week has been a momentous one for the Brexit endgame in the Commons. There is a growing sense of frustration and bewilderment at the lack of progress being made by MPs. However, it is worth taking a step back and seeing this week's events in the wider context of the relationship between the government and the Commons which has been evolving and adapting to the unique circumstances of Brexit. In a UK in a Changing Europe and Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law report published this week ,…

EUROPE+1

Murray Hunt at the House of Lords EU Justice Committee in its inquiry into Rights after Brexit

Murray Hunt appeared before the House of Lords EU Justice Committee in its inquiry into Rights after Brexit. The Committee is examining the future framework for and potential risks to rights after Brexit. My evidence focused on the risk of compounding the legal uncertainty already caused by Brexit by unnecessarily sowing seeds of doubt about the future of the Human Rights Act. I contrasted this with the post-Brexit human rights leadership being demonstrated in Scotland and by the Foreign…

EUROPE

Brexit Votes Explained UK in a Changing Europe and Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law report

The report sets out what affects MPs' influence and shows that there could be no deal if members of parliament continue to vote against everything. Publication - Download PDF Share Links Publication - Tags

EUROPE

The House of Commons’ Last Chance at Taking Back Control?

On Wednesday 27 February, MPs will have another opportunity to debate an amendable motion on the Government's approach to Brexit. The debate on Wednesday is likely to focus on the plan put forward by Yvette Cooper MP (Labour) and Oliver Letwin MP (Conservative). They want MPs to have a legally binding say on whether the Prime Minister seeks an extension to Article 50's two-year negotiating period. An amendment on Wednesday (if passed) would make time for legislation to achieve this. This post…

EUROPE+1

Murray Hunt's closing remarks at Remaking the UK Constitution, Mansfield College, Oxford

Murray Hunt, in his closing remarks at the conference (from 2:00:08) proposes the initiation of an inclusive deliberative process in each of the four nations of the UK on the specific question of whether human rights protection can be enhanced post-Brexit

EUROPE

Could the UK Courts Disapply Domestic Legislation to Enforce the Protocol on Ireland and N.Ireland?

If the Withdrawal Agreement is approved, then Parliament will be asked to legislate to give domestic legal effect to its content through the EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill. One of the most significant provisions of the Withdrawal Agreement, Article 4, purports to give the entire contents of the Withdrawal Agreement special status within the UK's constitutional order. Even though the UK would no longer be a Member State, the effect of Article 4 (if implemented) would be to give all of the laws…

EUROPE

The meaningful vote process has failed us

This was originally published in the UK in a Changing Europe blog  on 18 February 2019, republished here with kind permission. The Commons votes on January 29 marked the conclusion of the meaningful vote process. Ever since we have been in limbo. At the very moment when MPs and the government are searching for a way of reaching a consensus to break the Brexit deadlock, it appears our established constitutional procedures, and the ones we have created to deal with Brexit, have failed to…

EUROPE

Resolving the Brexit impasse UK in a Changing Europe and Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law report

There are disputes over territory in almost every region of the world, sometimes leading to escalations and violence between States and threatening international peace and security. International law requires States to refrain from the threat or use of force and to attempt to settle their disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace, security and justice are not endangered. In June 2018 the British Institute of International and Comparative Law (BIICL) has completed…

EUROPE

Seven Brexit endgame scenarios – a guide to the parliamentary process of withdrawal from the European Union

Seven Brexit endgame scenarios - a guide to the parliamentary process of withdrawal from the European Union Project Report This report is a guide to seven of the different possible parliamentary scenarios that might occur between now and exit day. This report explains how each of these scenarios could play out, and highlights the problems each faces. These hurdles come both from within the UK and from the rules created by the EU. This report explains how procedure will affect the politics,…

EUROPE

Brexit and the Speaker of the House of the Commons: Do the Ends Justify the Means?

Yesterday, the Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow MP, decided to allow an amendment to the Brexit timetable to be selected and voted upon by the Commons, in flat contradiction of the Commons' rules and against the advice of his senior clerks.  The amendment itself sought to require the Government, in the event that the Commons rejects the deal when the meaningful vote concludes on 15 January, to return to the Commons with a fresh motion within three days. The Commons subsequently…

EUROPE

The Commons’ verdict delayed: a decisive shift in the battle for control of the Brexit Endgame?

Theresa May's delay of the meaningful vote was a game-changing decision in the contest between the Commons and the Government for control of the Brexit process. This decision - ostensibly to address the concerns of MPs and enable further legal clarifications from the EU - might not appear that significant. In principle, the delay simply ensures MPs have all the information they need to make an informed choice. However, this underplays the strategic importance of the delay. The Government's…

EUROPE+1

The House of Commons and the Brexit Endgame: what can the Commons achieve before exit day?

This was originally published in the UK in a Changing Europe blog  on 23 November 2018, republished here with kind permission. Amid all the noise around leadership challenges and a People's Vote, it is easy to forget that the role of the House of Commons in the Brexit Endgame is focused on two core tasks: Approving the Withdrawal Agreement and the Framework on the Future Relationship (the meaningful vote); and Turning the Withdrawal Agreement into domestic law through the EU (Withdrawal…

EUROPE+1

Brexit and the Meaningful Vote: Down the Procedural Raab-it Hole?

Brexit has a knack for producing constitutional mountains out of procedural molehills. Last Wednesday, the House of Commons Procedure Committee published a letter from the Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab along with a Government Memorandum on the Government's views on how the procedural arrangements for the meaningful vote in the Commons agreed in the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018 should work. In a nutshell, the Government wants to ensure that the Commons makes a decision on the Brexit deal motion…

EUROPE

Taking Back Control: Brexit, Parliament and the Rule of Law

Over the next six months of the Brexit process, the UK Parliament will make a number of decisions that will have a profound impact on the UK's constitution and its legal systems. In a Bingham Centre for the Rule Law Report published this week, The Withdrawal Agreement and the Political Declaration: A Preliminary Rule of Law Analysis , we argue that the next six months represents a major test for the Rule of Law in the UK. The Rule of Law does not itself provide answers to the question…

EUROPE+1

The Withdrawal Agreement and the Political Declaration: A Preliminary Rule of Law Analysis

This report identifies a number of Rule of Law issues that can inform the scrutiny of the Withdrawal Agreement, the Political Declaration on the Future Relationship and the EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill in Parliament. The Rule of Law, a central principle of the UK's uncodified constitution, provides a set of minimum standards that can inform both the process and substance of Brexit. The final six months before exit day are unlikely to provide ideal conditions for effective parliamentary…

EUROPE

The Brexit endgame: a guide to the parliamentary process of withdrawal from the European Union

The Brexit endgame: a guide to the parliamentary process of withdrawal from the European Union Project Report In this exhaustive report, Matt Bevington, Jack Simson Caird and Alan Wager have gone to great lengths to meticulously examine the nooks and crannies of parliamentary procedure to give an insight into how this process might work. Leaving to one side the vicissitudes of party politics, which, frankly, merit a report in their own right, they lay bare the complexities of the parliamentary…

EUROPE

The EU (Withdrawal) Bill, A Rule of Law Analysis of Clauses 1 - 6

This Report sets out the Bingham Centre's Rule of Law analysis of clauses 1 to 6 of the EU (Withdrawal) Bill, to inform the House of Lords Committee Stage consideration of those clauses. The Bill's purpose is to protect the Rule of Law as the UK withdraws from the EU. It repeals the European Communities Act ("ECA"), the legal basis for EU law having effect and supremacy in UK law, with effect from the date of the UK's exit. However, it aims to ensure legal continuity, certainty and stability…

EUROPE+1

Erasmus and Brexit

The provision of cross-border educational exchanges is a key achievement of the European Union. Despite this, Erasmus and the Erasmus+ programme have not featured as big ticket items in the Brexit discussion. Michael Abiodun Olatokun considered five key international education questions in 2017. This is available as a podcast interview here:  https://soundcloud.com/user-918926390/erasmus-and-brexit-michael-olatokun Q: What was the Erasmus programme?  A: The Erasmus programme was…

CITIZENSHIP+1

The Rule Of Law Must Be At The Centre Of Brexit

The Rule of Law Must Be At The Centre of Brexit This post first appeared on the Huffington Post website. Friday morning's reaction to the Article 50 judgment has made me deeply reflective about the state of our politics. The Brexit era has been characterised by political announcements redolent of the deepest farce from 'The Thick Of It'. The EU Referendum has changed everything about British public life, and it is difficult to get a stable sense of what is actually going on as we lurch…

CITIZENSHIP+1
-
Keep In Touch