Why Referendums in Ireland Work Better than in the UK

Former UK prime minister Gordon Brown has recommended the Irish innovation of the citizens’ assembly to inform and guide public opinion. Theresa May, too, included a glancing reference to the notion in her recent House of Commons speech. They are mistaken, though, if they believe that this formula has much to offer in the UK.

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Disastrous Stability: Brexit as a Constitutional Crisis

The reason Continental Europe so often misunderstands what is happening in the UK is that it views events there either as developments in an international negotiation or as a crisis of the Tory party. The reality is that we are witnessing a constitutional system in crisis. One of the oldest constitutional systems in the world is trying to digest three paradigm shifts – and it is trying to do so in one gulp.

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Collateral Damage? Der Brexit und das Europaparlament

Sollen die EU 27 dem Vereinigten Königreich eine Fristverlängerung für den Brexit zugestehen? Das würde die Europawahlen im Mai gefährden, und damit die Verfassung der EU. Der Austritt des Vereinigten Königreichs am 29. März 2019, mit oder ohne Austrittsabkommen, ist als Ende mit Schrecken einem Schrecken ohne klares Ende vorzuziehen. Damit die EU nicht auch noch Schaden nimmt.

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Brexit and the Speaker of the House of the Commons: Do the Ends Justify the Means?

Yesterday, the Speaker of the UK House of Commons decided to allow an amendment to the Brexit timetable to be selected and voted upon by the Commons, in flat contradiction of the Commons’ rules and against the advice of his senior clerks. In this post, I outline the constitutional context which helps to explain why the Speaker took his decision, even if it does not justify the way in which the decision was taken.

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The Strange Case of the Publicity of the Brexit Legal Advice

One of the most remarkable episodes of the most remarkable Brexit saga is the strange case of the publicity of the Brexit legal advice. The actions of Theresa May’s government seem to aim at reducing both popular and democratic sovereignty to an empty shell before the incumbent Prime Minister and her cabinet are kicked out of power. However, the case of the publicity of legal advice is indeed strange not only on account of what has transpired on the British isles, but also of what has not happened on the continent.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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