Sovereign Choices: The CJEU’s Ruling on Exit from Brexit

In today’s Wightman judgment, the CJEU has ruled that a Member State may unilaterally revoke its notified intention to withdraw from the EU prior to that withdrawal taking effect. The Court is clearly signalling that membership of the European Union, and the rights and responsibilities which come with it, is voluntary. As political messages go, that is a pretty big message.

Continue Reading →

The Meaningful Vote on Brexit: the End of the Beginning or the Beginning of the End?

Tomorrow, the House of Commons will, barring a last minute delay, be the stage for the conclusion of the most dramatic parliamentary debate of the Brexit process so far: the meaningful vote on the Brexit deal. In strict constitutional terms the question is simple: will MPs decide to approve the motion that is legally required (by the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018) to enable the Withdrawal Agreement to be ratified before exit day? However, the political and procedural reality is, as one would expect, less simple.

Continue Reading →

Can an Art. 50 TEU withdrawal notice be revoked? How Advocate General Bordona offered a legal Trojan horse to Union law

In his opinion given in the Case Wightman et. al., Advocate General Bordona pleads for the possibility to revoke the notification of withdrawal. Although it may be politically and economically desirable to keep the UK in the Union, this does not justify the introduction of a “legal Trojan horse” into the European law order by interpreting the European treaties in a one-sided manner.

Continue Reading →

Exit vom Brexit?

Das EuGH-Verfahren Wightman hat heute seinen vorläufigen Höhepunkt erreicht: Zum ersten Mal äußerte sich mit Generalanwalt Manuel Campos Sánchez-Bordona ein Vertreter des Gerichtshofs zu der Frage, ob das Vereinigte Königreich den Austrittsprozess einseitig beenden könne („Exit vom Brexit“). Die Antwort des Generalanwalts ist grundsätzlich zu begrüßen, weitere Klarstellungen werden aber nötig sein.

Continue Reading →

On Thin Ice: the Role of the Court of Justice under the Withdrawal Agreement

Her alleged red line of bringing “an end to the jurisdiction of the Court of Justice in Britain” was always going to be a problem for Theresa May: After all, the UK’s commitment to comply with certain EU rules would inevitably mean that the ECJ’s interpretations of these rules would have to be binding on the UK. It is thus no surprise that the Withdrawal Agreement provides for the jurisdiction of the ECJ in various places. What is perhaps more of a surprise – and surely a negotiation win for the UK – is the EU’s legally problematic concession of an arbitration mechanism to resolve inter-party disputes over the interpretation of the Withdrawal Agreement.

Continue Reading →

Safety Net, Trap or Trampoline – Will the Backstop Lead to a No Deal Brexit?

Following yesterday’s announcement that the UK and the EU have agreed a revised text of the draft Withdrawal Agreement, the political fallout in the UK has begun with the UK Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab’s resignation from the Government. In his resignation letter, it is the so-called ‘backstop’ arrangements to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland that appears to be the primary cause of discontent.

Continue Reading →

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. 

Continue Reading →

Big Brother Watch and others v. the United Kingdom: A Victory of Human Rights over Modern Digital Surveillance?

The European Court of Human Rights delivered its long-awaited judgment in Big Brother Watch and others v. the United Kingdom. While this landmark decision marks a victory for the fundamental rights to privacy and freedom of expression over surveillance, it is also a missed opportunity for the Strasbourg Court.

Continue Reading →

WTO Option in Practice: How a No-Deal Brexit Would Seriously Damage Key UK Industries

Whilst a no-deal Brexit seemed unrealistic in the immediate aftermath of the UK’s referendum, it seems that now the UK is bracing itself for a Brexit without a withdrawal or transition agreement. What would that mean for the UK’s trade relations with the EU and other countries and how would it affect some of the UK’s key industries?

Continue Reading →