Thursday, 31 August 2017

UK - EU financial settlement - a note

The UK-EU financial settlement, citizens' rights and the situation of Ireland are the key areas under discussion in the present round of Brexit negotiations.

In March 2017, the House of Lords EU Committee 15th Report for session 2016-17 "Brexit and the EU budget" examined the potential financial demands in Chapter 3 and the UK's legal obligations in Chapter 4. At para. 137 the report said - " ..., the political and economic consequences of the UK leaving the EU without responding to claims under the EU budget are likely to be profound.  If the UK wants a preferential trading relationship with the EU, including a transitional arrangement, the EU partners may well demand a financial contribution post-Brexit."

On 13th July, David Davis MP said to the House of Commons - "On the financial settlement, as set out in the Prime Minister’s letter to President Tusk, the Government have been clear that we will work with the EU to determine a fair settlement of the UK’s rights and obligations as a departing member state, in accordance with the law and in the spirit of our continuing partnership. The Government recognise that the UK has obligations to the EU, and the EU obligations to the UK, that will survive the UK’s withdrawal—and that these need to be resolved."  (Hansard - Statement).

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Disclosure Survey ~ Interim results - Disturbing results emerge

How should the legal system deal with your case if YOU were charged with a criminal offence?  You would be certain to wish for a fair hearing within a reasonable time by "an independent and impartial tribunal."  The quoted words are from the European Convention on Human Rights and they reflect the position as it is established in the legal systems of the United Kingdom.

In England and Wales, that "independent and impartial tribunal" will often be the Magistrates' Court where around 90% of criminal cases are dealt with but it seems that all is far from well in those courts. 

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Brexit - one year on

Here are two interesting presentations reflecting on Brexit a year after the referendum.

Vernon Bogdanor Lecture- Brexit: One year on (2017)

Professor Michael Dougan - Project fear to project reality

Both are on Youtube and are well worth listening to.  There is also the "Kingston Smith debate" held on 28th June 2017.

Brexit - Negotiations Round 3 ~ Government publishes further papers

The Department for Exiting the EU (DExEU) has published a programme for the Third Round of Brexit negotiations to be held in Brussels from 28th to 31st August 2017.  In addition, the DExEU has published papers dealing with various aspects of Brexit - Article 50 and Negotiations with the EU

  Papers on Future Customs Union and Northern Ireland were the subject of this previous post (18th August).

The EU side of the negotiations basically operates in accordance with the European Council (Art. 50) Guidelines issued on 29th April 2017 and other official documents – see LIBRARY below.  At this stage, the EU guidance requires their negotiators to focus on Citizen's Rights, Financial Settlement and the Situation of Ireland.  The UK side appears to be keen to move the talks into other areas though the financial settlement ("divorce bill") is likely to be a major sticking point - The Guardian 28th August.   This May 2017 post looked at the financial situation as it appeared at that time. 

Friday, 18 August 2017

Brexit ~ Government Papers

Brexit will place the UK outside the EU Customs Union and Internal Market both of which, under the EU Treaties, are key features of the EU's structure.  The Department for Exiting the EU has published a "future partnership paper" - Future Customs relationship with the EU

A "position paper" deals with Northern Ireland and Ireland and proposes no physical infrastructure at the border - Pledge to protect the Belfast Agreement and Common Travel Area

Law Society Report on the state of legal aid

Four years ago, the coalition government implemented the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO). Hundreds of thousands of people who were eligible for legal aid on 31 March 2013 became ineligible the very next day.   Four years on, the Law Society has conducted a review of the legal aid changes introduced under the act. This review concludes that:
1. Legal aid is no longer available for many of those who need it
2. Those eligible for legal aid find it hard to access it
3. Wide gaps in provision are not being addressed
4. LASPO has had a wider and detrimental impact on the state and society
The review includes 25 recommendations to government, focusing on issues including increasing children's access to legal aid, reintroducing legal aid for early advice, and improving Exceptional Case Funding and the legal aid means test.  The report is available via  Law Society 29th June 2017.

Disclosure ~ an on-going problem in criminal cases

The unhappy state of affairs regarding Disclosure is yet again highlighted by a survey being undertaken by the Criminal Law Solicitors Association (CLSA) - CLSA Disclosure Survey.

Disclosure problems appear to beset the criminal justice system - previous recent posts - Stories from the Criminal Courts (6th August) and 19th July 2017 - Making it fair - the crucial matter of disclosure in criminal cases

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Grenfell Tower Fire - Inquiry terms of reference published

Updated 16th August:

The Terms of Reference for the Grenfell Tower Inquiry have been published by the government and may be read on the Grenfell Tower Inquiry website (HERE).  The terms are those recommended by the Inquiry Chairman - see page 4 of Sir Martin Moore-Bick's letter to the Prime Minister - (HERE).

Over 550 written responses were received in response to the terms of reference consultation and they are summarised at pages 5 to 7 of Sir Martin Moore-Bick's letter to the Prime Minister

Monday, 14 August 2017

EU (Withdrawal) Bill - Devolution and other points

This post looks at Legislative Consent and some other matters raised by the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill which was presented to Parliament on 13th July.  Explanatory Notes are available - HERE.  Previous posts considering aspects of the Bill are OVERVIEW , ECA Repeal and Exit Day , Retention of Existing EU Law, , Clause 6 - InterpretationFrancovich and Ministerial powers to legislate.

: Clause 1 :

"The European Communities Act 1972 is repealed on exit day."  As noted in this previous post, Clause 1 will repeal the mechanism by which EU law has been able to enter the domestic legal systems of the United Kingdom.  The Bill does not set out a single date to be Exit Day and it is for Ministers to decide.

Given that repeal of the ECA 1972 will bring about major constitutional and legal change, it might have been prudent for Parliament to retain some form of control over the specific date on which the European Communities Act 1972 is repealed but the Bill does not appear to do so.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Brexit Library

Updated  12 January 2019 ~

A Collection of posts on Brexit, links to official materials and links to other blogs.

EU council

Guidelines for future relationship between EU and UK - 8th March 2018 - HERE or here

UK Government and EU issued a Joint Statement on Withdrawal Agreement - 19th June 2018 

EU Commission

European Parliament

Motion prepared by the European Parliament’s Brexit Steering Group raising  possibility of an ASSOCIATION AGREEMENT founded on Article 8 TEU and Article 217 TFEU - The motion is available HERE.

European Parliament Resolution 14 March 2018

Europa - the EU website

Posts since 1st January 2019 - (latest first)

10 January - Shenanigans in the Commons as the 'meaningful vote' comes closer

9 January - Brexit - Government loses vote on Finance (No.3) Bill

Posts since 1st January 2018 – (latest first)

21 December - The Brexit Debacle

20 December - No deal preparation - Official information

29 November - Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration - materials

28 November - White Paper - Legislating for the Withdrawal Agreement

Draft Withdrawal Agreement - November 2018 - No.9 - Northern Ireland

Draft Withdrawal Agreement - November 2018 - No.8 - Protocol on the Sovereign Base Areas Cyprus

Draft Withdrawal Agreement - November 2018 - No.7 - Protocol on Gibraltar

Draft Withdrawal Agreement - November 2018 - No.6 - Parts 3 (Separation) and Five (Financial)

Draft Withdrawal Agreement - November 2018 - No.5 - Part 2 Citizens' Rights

 Draft Withdrawal Agreement - November 2018 - No.4 - CJEU Role, Joint Committee, Dispute settlement

 Draft Withdrawal Agreement - November 2018 - No.3 - Transition

 Draft Withdrawal Agreement - November 2018 - No.2 - Preamble and Common Provisions

Draft Withdrawal Agreement - November 2018 - No.1

Draft Political Declaration - November 2018
2 November - National Crime Agency Investigation - Brexit - Leave Funding 

19 October - European Council meeting 17-18 October

18 October - Meaningful or meaningless vote

18 October - A pretty pass - European Council

12 October - Brexit - some thoughts on an autumn morning

4 October - Brexit-related litigation

24 September - Civil aviation and No Deal Brexit

21 September - Court of Session to ask CJEU if Article 50 notification may be unilaterally withdrawn

21 September - Salzburg 19 and 20 September 

17 September - High Court - 'expenses incurred' by Vote Leave Ltd

7 September - Yellowhammer

27 August - A No Deal Brexit - Government preparations for no deal - WTO

26 July - 247 Days to Brexit - Talk of treason!

7 July - Chequers - Talks 6 July

1 July - European Council June 2018

27th June - EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018 - Overview

23 June

13 June - EU (Withdrawal) Bill - back to the Commons - 13th June

EU (Withdrawal) Bill - back to the Commons - 12th June

EU Withdrawal Agreement - Parliament taking control - 2nd May 2018

Brexit update - Exiting the EU Committee - 4th April

Brexit-related litigation - 28th March- (this post replaced by post of 4 October 2018)

EU Council - Guidelines on Post-Brexit relationship - 24th March

Draft Withdrawal Agreement 19th March

Brexit - Draft Withdrawal Agreement (No.4) - Other aspects - (2nd March)

Brexit - Draft Withdrawal Agreement (No.3) - Ireland and Northern Ireland - (1st March)

Brexit - Draft Withdrawal Agreement (No.2) - Transition - (28th February)

Brexit - Draft Withdrawal Agreement (No.1) - (28th February)

Trade Bill - a vague amendment - (27th February)

Northern Ireland - some notes - (23rd February)

Brexit negotiations as at 9th February

4 Posts on the Constitution Committee Report (published 29th January 2018) -

Legal status of retained EU law - (30th January 2018)

What is “no deal” Brexit? Getting hold of fog - 12th January 2018.

The House of Lords and the EU Withdrawal Bill - 3rd January 2018

A short round up - includes some Brexit items - 18th January 2018

UK Government Department for Exiting the EU

United Kingdom Parliament

House of Commons -   

The European Scrutiny Committee assesses the legal/political importance of EU documents

The Exiting the European Union Committee examines the expenditure, administration and policy of the Department of Exiting the European Union 

The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill

Posts about the Bill as introduced - 1st reading House of Commons was 13th July 2017

Posts up to 31st December 2017 – (latest first)

Brexit - end of year view (29th December)

Joint EK EU Report (4) - Euratom and other points (10th December)

Joint UK EU Report (3) - Money (10th December)

Joint UK EU Report (2) - Ireland and Northern Ireland (9th December)

Joint UK EU Report (1) - Citizens' rights (9th December)

Brexit shambles develops (7th December)

An Humble Address to Her Majesty (1st November 2017)

Brexit Notes - Round 5 and other items (12th October 2017)

Brexit Negotiations Round 4 (29th September)

Brexit - Government Papers - (18th August 2017)-  Papers regarding (a) Customs and (b) Ireland

EU and the UK - Collection of Posts - Law and Lawyer posts from 20th February 2016 to 23rd July 2017 – UP TO THE 2016 REFERENDUM


EU Negotiating Position

EU Commission


Law Society

Bar Council

Further resources

UK Parliament and Courts