POSTS BY Kenneth Armstrong

Can An Article 50 Withdrawal Notice be Revoked? The CJEU is Asked to Decide

The legal issue of whether the United Kingdom can change its mind and revoke – unilaterally – its notified intention to withdraw from the European Union has been a matter of academic and professional conjecture since the 2016 referendum. An authoritative interpretation of the issue may be delivered by Christmas following the lodging on 3 October 2018 of a request by the Scottish Court of Session for a preliminary ruling in Case C-621/18 Wightman and Others. 

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Barnier, Bureaucracy and Brexit – a Test for Juncker’s ‘Political’ Commission

At first sight, it may neither be easy nor obvious to assimilate the conduct of the Brexit negotiations to the idea of a ‘political Commission’. A closer look, however, reveals that Juncker’s personnel and organisational choices regarding the Brexit negotiations fit that pattern more readily.

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The Taming of Control – the Great Repeal Bill

Brexit is underway. For voters who wanted the UK to remain in the EU, the risk was how much would change after the UK leaves. For those who wanted the UK to leave the EU, the hope was that, indeed, much would change. Both sets of voters may be surprised at the efforts being placed on seeking continuity in governance. For Remain voters, while this may afford some comfort, it will simply reinforce the view that the better way of keeping things the same was for the UK to remain a Member State of the EU. For Leave voters, the outcome may be more ambiguous.

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Brexit, Voice and Loyalty: What ‘New Settlement’ for the UK in the EU?

The UK Prime Minister, David Cameron has finally found time to write a letter to the European Council President Donald Tusk setting out the basis for the UK’s renegotiated membership of the EU. Although in recent weeks, European leaders have complained that they lacked clarity as to what it was that Mr Cameron would seek in these negotiations – despite his recent tour of European capitals – in the end, the themes contained in the letter have been well rehearsed both by the Prime Minister, and more recently by the UK Chancellor in his speech to the BDI in Germany. There are four pillars to the ‘new settlement’ sought by the UK government: economic governance, competitiveness, sovereignty and immigration. The Prime Minister’s stated aim is – through voice – for the UK to remain a member of the EU, albeit an EU with differentiated membership obligations. As he reiterated in a speech at Chatham House to trail the letter to Donald Tusk, if he succeeds in his negotiations, the Prime Minister will campaign for the UK to remain in the EU. He also made clear that a vote for Brexit would be just that, with no second referendum to seek a better deal. So what then are the key policy planks supporting the four-pillars?

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Brexit, Voice and Loyalty: What ‘New Settlement’ for the UK in the EU?

The UK Prime Minister, David Cameron has finally found time to write a letter to the European Council President Donald Tusk setting out the basis for the UK’s renegotiated membership of the EU. Although in recent weeks, European leaders have complained that they lacked clarity as to what it was that Mr Cameron would seek in these negotiations – despite his recent tour of European capitals – in the end, the themes contained in the letter have been well rehearsed both by the Prime Minister, and more recently by the UK Chancellor in his speech to the BDI in Germany. There are four pillars to the ‘new settlement’ sought by the UK government: economic governance, competitiveness, sovereignty and immigration. The Prime Minister’s stated aim is – through voice – for the UK to remain a member of the EU, albeit an EU with differentiated membership obligations. As he reiterated in a speech at Chatham House to trail the letter to Donald Tusk, if he succeeds in his negotiations, the Prime Minister will campaign for the UK to remain in the EU. He also made clear that a vote for Brexit would be just that, with no second referendum to seek a better deal. So what then are the key policy planks supporting the four-pillars?

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Why Kumm is Wrong and there is not in LAW a duty to appoint Juncker

I would go so far to say that were the European Council to make a nomination based on the sort of legal duty Kumm asserts, and were that nomination to be taken by the qualified majority vote which the treaty permits, an outvoted state would have good legal grounds for challenging the decision before the European Court of Justice. Maybe then we would see who is right and who is wrong.

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Why the European Council is NOT under a legal duty to appoint Jean-Claude Juncker

Speculation over the nominee for the next President of the European Commission has been rife in newspapers, media and the blogosphere. In the face of such uncertainty, it might be reassuring to believe that, as Mattias Kumm asserts, there is an actual legal duty to appoint a particular candidate. No such luck. If there was to be legal certainty, then the authors of the treaty could quite easily have provided that clarity, including by institutionalising the Spitzenkandidat concept in the treaties. They did no such thing.

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