New paper / The Supreme Court’s Judgment in Miller: In Search of Constitutional Principle

I recently finished work on a paper that will be published in the July 2017 issue of the Cambridge Law Journal. Entitled ‘The Supreme Court’s Judgment in Miller: In Search of Constitutional Principle’, the paper analyses the decision in R (Miller) v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union [2017] UKSC 5. As is well-known, the Supreme Court, in that case, held that the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union could not be initiated by the Government using prerogative power; rather, the Brexit process could be begun only with Parliament’s legislative blessing. As is equally well-known, that blessing was conferred by Parliament via the European … Continue reading New paper / The Supreme Court’s Judgment in Miller: In Search of Constitutional Principle

The Great Repeal Bill White Paper in 20 tweets

I posted a number of tweets yesterday extracting key paragraphs from the Government’s White Paper on the Great Repeal Bill and offering some preliminary thoughts on them. For convenience, I have collected the tweets below. Some more detailed comments on the White Paper can be found in this post, in which I draw attention to some notable gaps in the White Paper and argue that the Government’s thinking in some key areas appears to highly undeveloped — or at least, at this stage, undisclosed. In one of the tweets below, I suggest that the possibility — raised by the White … Continue reading The Great Repeal Bill White Paper in 20 tweets

The Government’s White Paper on the Great Repeal Bill: Some Preliminary Thoughts

After several months of gestation — it was first trailed in Theresa May’s speech to the Conservative Party Conference last October — the Government today finally put some flesh on the bones of its spectacularly misleadingly dubbed ‘Great Repeal Bill’. Or at least, that is what the Government appears to think it has done by publishing its White Paper. In reality, its thinking — or the thinking revealed in this White Paper, at any rate — remains alarmingly sparse, and gives rise to at least as many questions as it answers. I do not in this post seek to provide … Continue reading The Government’s White Paper on the Great Repeal Bill: Some Preliminary Thoughts

The ‘Black Spider Memos’ Case: An Introduction to Constitutional Law

In a talk I recently gave at the Cambridge Sixth Form Law Conference, I introduced delegates to UK Constitutional Law by way of examining the ‘Black Spider Memos’ case. The Supreme Court’s judgment in that case — more formally known as R (Evans) v Attorney-General [2015] UKSC 21 — came at the end of a long saga involving attempts by Guardian journalist Rob Evans to get hold of so-called advocacy correspondence between Prince Charles and Government Ministers. Evans’s concern was that through such correspondence, Charles may have been seeking to shape Government policy; Evans argued that it was important that people should be able to see what Charles … Continue reading The ‘Black Spider Memos’ Case: An Introduction to Constitutional Law

Discarding the fig-leaf of analytical reasoning? The Hutton case and the law/fact distinction

One of the first posts I wrote on this blog concerned the Supreme Court’s decision in Jones  v First-tier Tribunal [2013] UKSC 19. At the heart of the case was the distinction between questions of law and fact, and its implications for judicial oversight of tribunals. The distinction is important because if an issue that has been erroneously determined is one of law, then an error of law has been committed, rendering the tribunal’s decision vulnerable whether on appeal on a point of law or on judicial review. In contrast, a determination flawed by an error of fact is not … Continue reading Discarding the fig-leaf of analytical reasoning? The Hutton case and the law/fact distinction

‘She is constitutionally absolutely wrong’: The Lord Chief Justice on the Lord Chancellor

  In his annual evidence session before the House of Lords Constitution Committee on 22 March 2017, the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Thomas, subjected the Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary, Liz Truss, to extraordinary criticism. I use the word ‘extraordinary’ not in order to imply that anything said by Lord Thomas was inappropriate, but merely to signal how unusual it is for a very senior judge to criticise a senior Minister in such excoriating terms. But, as Lord Thomas told the Committee, this was not an occasion for ‘mincing words’. He certainly did not do that. Lord Thomas’s remarks were … Continue reading ‘She is constitutionally absolutely wrong’: The Lord Chief Justice on the Lord Chancellor

The ‘Great Repeal Bill’ and Delegated Powers

By Mark Elliott and Stephen Tierney A good deal of the legal and constitutional interest generated by Brexit has so far, perhaps unsurprisingly, focussed upon the very beginning of the withdrawal process. Initially, all eyes were on the courts, with the Supreme Court holding in R (Miller) v Secretary of State for the European Union [2017] UKSC 5 that the Article 50 mechanism can be activated only with Parliament’s legislative blessing. As a result of that landmark judgment, attention has now switched to Parliament, through which the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill is presently passing. The questions that have … Continue reading The ‘Great Repeal Bill’ and Delegated Powers