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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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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Misguided ‘Associate EU Citizenship’ Talk as a Denial of EU Values

Guy Verhofstadt is famous for articulate ‘The answer is more Europe’ positions on all issues European. Jan-Werner Müller might be right: should there have been no Verhofstadt, Eurosceptics would have had to invent him. This is particularly so given his position on EU citizenship for UK nationals after Brexit as the chief European Parliament Brexit negotiator. In this contribution, I explain why playing with any kind of ‘associate EU citizenship status’ for the Brits after Brexit is a terrible idea undermining all what should be cherished about the project of European unity.

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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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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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Dispute Resolution after Brexit

When setting out her priorities for the Brexit negotiations in a speech at Lancaster House in January, Theresa May promised to ‘bring an end to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in Britain.’  This forcefully formulated ‘red line’ turned into a headache for the British negotiators as it was both somewhat misconceived – the ECJ’s preliminary reference procedure hardly results in jurisdiction ‘in Britain’ – and overly categorical ignoring both the likely content of the UK-EU withdrawal agreement and the shape of the future UK-EU relationship envisaged by her own government as a ‘new, deep and special partnership.’ Today’s paper on ‘enforcement and dispute resolution’ should therefore be welcomed as injecting a portion of realism and pragmatism in the debate over the ECJ.

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One year after the Brexit Referendum: More, Fewer or No Referendums in Europe?

One year after Brexit, the issue of referendums seems to be everywhere: Their desirability cannot be described with a clear ‘yes’ or ‘no’. There is simply more than one valid constitutional perspective in evaluating the case for or against referendums.

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