On the Slippery Slope to a ,People’s Court'

Writes Matej Avbelj in High time for popular constitutionalism!, ‘The majority in our societies seems to be increasingly disconnected with the liberal values that especially the legal academia, but also the ruling political class – at least on a declaratory level – have taken for granted…’ Living as I do in the country in which one sees an increasing distaste for the European Convention of Human Rights and regular media criticism of the ‘unelected judges’ in Strasbourg – and that despite the fact that the judges of the Court are, in fact, elected from a slate of three by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe – I cannot help wondering whether the disconnect is anything very new.

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Brexit, Democracy and the Rule of Law

The decision of the High Court in London this week was a ruling not on whether Brexit should happen, but on how it can happen lawfully. There is nothing at all in the court’s judgment to block the will of the people, to reverse the result of the referendum, or to get in the way of Brexit. Nor is there anything inappropriate in turning to the courts to determine how Brexit can proceed in accordance with the rule of law. That said, as a lawyer I think the court’s ruling is wrong.

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Enemies of the People?

"Enemies of the People": that is, according to the Daily Mail, what the High Court judges are. Joseph Stalin would have been wildly amused by this way of putting things… Leaving aside such 30s reminiscences, it seems to me too simple to reduce this phenomenon solely to the disgracefulness of the British boulevard press and Tory backbenchers. There is something more fundamental going on. Not only in the United Kingdom. But in the entire Western democratic constitutional space.

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Feinde des Volkes?

"Enemies of the People": So titelt die Daily Mail als Reaktion auf das gestrige Brexit-Urteil des High Court. An dieser Diktion hätte Josef Stalin seine helle Freude gehabt. Aber jenseits solcher 30er-Jahre-Reminiszenzen scheint es mir zu kurz gesprungen, dieses Phänomen allein auf die Verkommenheit der britischen Boulevardpresse und der snotty Tory-Elite zu reduzieren. Da geht etwas Grundlegenderes vor. Und zwar nicht allein im Vereinigten Königreich. Sondern im gesamten westlichen demokratisch-rechtsstaatlichen Verfassungsraum.

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The High Court’s Brexit Decision: A Lesson in Constitutional Law for the UK Government

In today’s Brexit decision, the High Court has delivered a tutorial on the UK constitution, exemplary in its clarity and reasoning. Its key finding: the government cannot take away rights that citizens enjoy in the EU and would be lost on withdrawal without involving Parliament. In failing to understand the constitution of its own country, the government was taught an embarrassing lesson today.

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