In the Name of Peace and Integrity?

Last Tuesday, something rare took place in Westminster. The UK Government officially announced its intention to breach the Withdrawal Agreement that it had signed and ratified a few months ago. Prime Minister Boris Johnson valiantly defended the draft by declaring that such breach is necessary in order ‘to uphold the integrity of the UK, but also to protect the Northern Irish peace process and the Good Friday agreement.’ Is that really so?

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A Test for Sovereignty after Brexit

Speaking in the House of Commons on the eve of the publication of the Internal Market Bill and in response to an urgent question, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Brandon Lewis stated that ‘Yes, this does break international law in a very specific and limited way’. Can the UK, by domestic legislation, limit the direct effect of the Withdrawal Agreement?

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Corona Constitutional #6: Der englische Patient

Boris Johnson liegt mit Corona in der Intensivstation. Was passiert, wenn der Premierminister stirbt oder sein Amt nicht mehr ausüben kann? Wie regelt man das ohne geschriebene Verfassung? GAVIN PHILLIPSON ist einer der besten Kenner des britischen Verfassungsrechts. Im Interview mit Max Steinbeis gibt er Auskunft über die Rechte und Möglichkeiten des Parlaments, über die ungeheure Machtfülle der Regierung und über die Zukunft der Grund- und Menschenrechte im Vereinigten Königreich.

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A Prime Minister in Hospital: the Constitutional Implications

Following the news that the British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has been taken to hospital for treatment for COVID-19, there has been much discussion about what should happen if he should die or become incapacitated. Who would take over and how would such a successor be chosen? What is the role of Dominic Raab, the Foreign Secretary, who has been designated to deputise for him in his absence? And how do we find the answers to the above questions, given the UK has no codified Constitution to consult?

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Avoiding the next Brexit Cliff-Edge

Boris Johnson wants to legally exclude the prolongation of the extension period of the Withdrawal Agreement. The way to prolong it nevertheless would be an amendment of the Withdrawal Agreement itself. Some argue now that any other way to change the transition period than its prolongation by the JC is legally impossible. Another reading of the legal situation is, however, supportable.

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Back to the Future?

Although the UK has appeared to move from one constitutional crisis to the next during this year, there has been a clear direction of travel: 2019 saw both the legislature and the courts strengthening their checks over the executive. The Conservative Party Manifesto may be interpreted as an attempt to reverse this direction of travel and reinstate the executive at the centre of the Constitution.

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Ursula von der Leyen als Kollateral­schaden des britischen Wahlkampfs?

Als designierte Kommissionspräsidentin durchläuft Ursula von der Leyen derzeit einen Schnellkurs in den Untiefen europäischer Politik. Zuerst mussten drei Kandidat/innen während der parlamentarischen Anhörung aufgeben und der ungarische Ersatzkandidat muss weiterhin zittern. Sodann teilte Boris Johnson am Mittwochabend schriftlich mit, dass seine Regierung keinen Kommissar vorschlagen werde. Seither überschlugen sich die Ereignisse. Am Donnerstagabend eröffnete die Kommission ein Vertragsverletzungsverfahren gegen das Vereinigte Königreich.

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Dealing with a Rogue UK Prime Minister

In the current “Brexit” crisis, the EU should strive to achieve a smooth agreement-based process. This is the only way to ensure that the intricate web binding the UK to the EU is not ripped up without a reliable substitute. Boris Johnson’s priority to withdraw the UK on 31 October “do or die“ is next to impossible to reconcile with that aim. Domestically, it will be difficult to halt Johnson’s no-deal plan. But what about the EU? Indeed, there are several measures the EU could take to deal with a rogue UK Prime Minister and to make a smooth withdrawal more likely.

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