Extending Article 50: Separating myth and legal reality

There appears to be a degree of uncertainty about the legal position concerning the extension of Article 50. Confusion seems to have arisen thanks to a combination of the way in which the European Council structured its decision to grant an extension and failure to understand the distinction and relationship between relevant provisions of European … Continue reading Extending Article 50: Separating myth and legal reality

The Healthcare Bill: A case study in the implications (and dangers) of legislating for Brexit

The House of Lords Constitution Committee recently issued a report on the Healthcare (International Arrangements) Bill. The Bill amounts to an excellent, if alarming, case study on constitutional implications of legislating for a blind Brexit — blind in the sense that it remains unclear whether the UK will leave the EU on 29 March 2019 … Continue reading The Healthcare Bill: A case study in the implications (and dangers) of legislating for Brexit

Video: Cambridge Centre for Public Law event on the Scottish Continuity Bill case

https://youtu.be/3G00xv8HfWY I have written before about the Supreme Court’s judgment, given in December 2018, in the ‘Scottish Continuity Bill case’ [2018] UKSC 64. The Continuity Bill was adopted by the Scottish Parliament against the background of serious disagreement between the Scottish and UK Governments concerning the UK Parliament’s European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (on which see this post). That disagreement … Continue reading Video: Cambridge Centre for Public Law event on the Scottish Continuity Bill case

Can the Government veto legislation by advising the Queen to withhold royal assent?

During an interview on the Today programme on Radio 4 (here, beginning two hours and ten minutes into the broadcast), Sir Stephen Laws made — or at least appeared to accede to — an arresting suggestion about the withholding of royal assent from legislation. In particular, he appeared to endorse the view that if the … Continue reading Can the Government veto legislation by advising the Queen to withhold royal assent?

From Miller to the meaningful vote: Why on earth didn’t Parliament take control when it had the chance?

In a piece published on Prospect magazine's website, I argue that two years ago MPs were gifted a golden opportunity to take control of Brexit when the Supreme Court gave judgment in the Miller case. Ever since — up to and including this week's meaningful vote — Parliament has been scrambling to catch up. As … Continue reading From Miller to the meaningful vote: Why on earth didn’t Parliament take control when it had the chance?

The Supreme Court’s judgment in the Scottish Continuity Bill case

Earlier this week, the UK Supreme Court gave judgment in relation to the “Scottish Continuity Bill” [2018] UKSC 64. The matter reached the Court through a reference made under section 33(1) of the Scotland Act 1998, according to which the Court has jurisdiction to rule on “the question of whether a [Scottish] Bill or any … Continue reading The Supreme Court’s judgment in the Scottish Continuity Bill case

Confidence motions and the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011

The House of Commons Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee (PACAC) has today published an interim report on the effect of confidence motions in the light of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 (FTPA). The report helpfully cuts through confusion that has developed in this area since the Act was passed under the 2010–15 Conservative-Liberal Democrat … Continue reading Confidence motions and the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011

Civil legal aid as a constitutional imperative: A response to Lord Sumption

Having prefaced his tenure as a Supreme Court Justice with a controversial lecture that (as Sir Stephen Sedley put it) he used “to reprove the judiciary which he was about to join for failing to keep out of the political arena”, the end of Lord Sumption’s judicial career is now marked by an address that … Continue reading Civil legal aid as a constitutional imperative: A response to Lord Sumption

The Brexit Withdrawal Agreement: Taking back “control of our laws”?

On its new "Brexit Facts" website, the UK Government takes issue with the claim that the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement "would not give us back control of our laws". However, in disputing that claim, the Government makes some questionable assertions of its own

House of Lords Constitution Committee reports on Delegated Powers

The House of Lords Constitution Committee has published a major report on delegated powers. In this post, Mark Elliott and Stephen Tierney highlight the main constitutional issues and concerns identified in the report and set out the Committee's principal recommendations