Suffering from Withdrawal – Controversy in the UK EU (Withdrawal) Bill

Beginning today, the EU (Withdrawal) Bill (EUWB) will return to the UK House of Commons, where all 15 amendments made to the EUWB by the House of Lords will be debated over only two days. The EUWB is arguably one of the most contentious and complex pieces of legislation to be presented to the British Parliament in this century. The amendments are a response to the concerns regarding the broad discretion across an unknown expanse of law with an almost-unfettered use of legislative power by the executive.

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If 'Vote Leave' Broke the Law, Could Brexit be Void?

Could Brexit be declared void by a court, and article 50 revoked, if there were major irregularities in the vote? Evidence is emerging of possible fraud, and criminal acts by Vote Leave, Cambridge Analytica, and Aggregate IQ: illegal overspending, psychologically profiling and targeting people with online ads, based on stolen data. Now, the legal opinion of three barristers has become public on how Vote Leave, and its organiser Dominic Cummings, committed criminal offences.

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The Right to Fair Trial and the Rise of Sensitive Intelligence Evidence: Responses from the Dutch and UK Courts

Writing extra-judicially, Lord Justice Brown once described the typical court approach on matters of national security as follows: “the mere incantation of the phrase [national security] of itself instantly discourages the court from satisfactorily fulfilling its normal role of deciding where the balance of public interest lies.” (1994 Public Law) Yet, in recent times, despite […]

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Has Parliament Taken Charge of Brexit?

The UK House of Lords has adopted amendments to the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill that would make the conclusion of a withdrawal agreement contingent on parliamentary approval. It is not at all clear which, if any, of the Lords amendments will survive in the House of Commons, and we may not find out for a while. It may be premature to conclude that Parliament is now fully in charge of the Brexit process. What the amendments show, however, is that Parliament can assert control if it chooses to do so.

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Das Wissensproblem im Asylprozess und wie es behoben werden kann

Im Asylrecht stehen die Gerichte regelmäßig vor einem Wissensproblem: Um über den Schutzanspruch von Asylbewerbern urteilen zu können, müssen sie wissen, wie es generell um die Verfolgungssituation in den Herkunftsländern bestellt ist. Das ist nicht ihr Metier, denn ihre Hauptaufgabe ist die Streitentscheidung im Einzelfall. Wie kann das am Einzelfall orientierte Gericht der Aufgabe, generelles Wissen über die Herkunftsländer zu generieren, gerecht werden? Wie kann es insbesondere vermeiden, dass von Fall zu Fall inkonsistent entschieden wird, die Rechtssicherheit auf der Strecke bleibt und es zu einer „Asyl-Lotterie“ kommt?

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With a little help from Henry VIII

There are few legislative assemblies in Europe which can call themselves with proud sovereign. The Principle of Parliamentary Sovereignty is the most important part of UK constitutional law. It implies that all legislation derives from the superior legal authority of Parliament and hence it is the job of the Members of Parliament to create, abolish and change the law. Well, since Henry VIII this principle is no longer entirely true, and it is currently challenged again by the future “Great Repeal Bill”.

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What’s in a name? A Brexit we can all enjoy

Northern Ireland will have a ,hard Brexit' as any other part of the UK and, at the same time, be subject to a ,regulatory alignment' with the Republic of Ireland and, hence, the EU. Such is the elegance of this solution, that one might be tempted to mistake it for a genuine policy innovation. In fact, using a made up name for something that you are already doing and calling it ‘new’ has a long pedigree and has been used aplenty.

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Prisoner Voting and Power Struggle: a Never-Ending Story?

On 29 October 2017, it was announced that the UK authorities are planning to revoke the blanket ban on prisoner voting and allow those who are sentenced to under a year in prison to go home for a day and vote. This was done to ensure the compliance with the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Hirst No 2 which was delivered in 2005. It took the UK government twelve years to come up with a proposal that would put English law in line with the case law of the European Court of Human Rights.

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The Irony of Brexit for Immigration Control

Immigration was a hot topic throughout the Brexit debate. ‘To take back control’ was a prominent slogan. While Brexit can facilitate legal control over the entry and stay of EU citizens, it need not necessarily make it easier for the UK to control the immigration of third-country nationals, including asylum seekers. It might even, paradoxically, render control of immigration by non-Europeans more difficult to some extent.

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Can Brexit be stopped under EU Law?

Ominous clouds are gathering and the terrain underfoot increasingly resembles a quagmire on the Brexiteers ‘sunlit uplands’. It is therefore unsurprising that the chatter about revoking the Art. 50 notification to withdraw from the EU – itself waxing and waning since the referendum vote – has become louder in recent days; spurred on by a freedom of information request seeking the government’s legal advice on the question.

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