When he was Theresa May’s Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson famously said, apropos of Brexit, that his ‘policy on cake’ was ‘pro having it and pro eating it’ — in other words, having the best of both worlds. Although the Prime Minister doubled down on that view yesterday, claiming that he had delivered the 'cakeist' fantasy … Continue reading The UK-EU Brexit Agreements and ‘sovereignty’: Having one’s cake and eating it?
The days of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 — adopted almost a decade ago as part of the Coalition Agreement between the Conservative and Liberal Democrat Parties — appear to be numbered. The Government has published draft legislation to repeal the Act along with a statement of principles concerning the exercise of the prerogative power … Continue reading Repealing the Fixed-term Parliaments Act
Recently, I have been reflecting on the question: ‘Does the UK constitution still work?’ Of course, the question is value-laden. For one thing, it implicitly assumes that, whether or not it works now, the UK constitution at least once worked adequately — an assumption that is not universally shared. And buried within the question is … Continue reading The UK constitution under pressure: A lost age of civility?
The following is a lightly edited version of a piece that was first published in the autumn/winter 2020 edition of Lauterpacht Centre News, the newsletter of the University of Cambridge's Lauterpacht Centre for International Law. Lauterpacht Centre News can be downloaded via the Centre's website. Another autumn, another Brexit-related constitutional drama in the UK. A … Continue reading Legal kryptonite? Parliamentary sovereignty, international law and the Internal Market Bill
In an earlier post and in evidence to the House of Lords Constitution Committee I have already drawn attention to concerns about the attempt in the United Kingdom Internal Market Bill to oust judicial review of regulations made under clauses 42 and 43 — the provisions that allow Ministers to breach the UK’s international obligations … Continue reading One step forward, two steps back? Judicial review and the Government’s amendments to the Internal Market Bill
I was pleased to be invited to give evidence earlier this week to the House of Lords Constitution Committee on the constitutional issues arising from the United Kingdom Internal Market Bill (about which I wrote in an earlier blogpost). In giving evidence to the Committee, I appeared alongside Sir Stephen Laws, former First Parliamentary Counsel, … Continue reading The Internal Market Bill: My evidence to the House of Lords Constitution Committee
If proof were needed that a week can be a long time in politics, one would need to look no further than the events of the last seven days in the UK. Three matters during the course of the last week have vividly illustrated — individually, but more importantly collectively — an increasingly clear narrative … Continue reading The (constitutional) state we’re in: A week in British politics
The willingness of the UK’s Brexiteer-led Government to pick fights with the European Union is a given. So too, now, is its appetite for a show-down with the courts, as the recently launched review of administrative law attests. It is therefore perhaps no surprise that the Government, via the United Kingdom Internal Market Bill, has … Continue reading The Internal Market Bill – A Perfect Constitutional Storm
Having considered, in my first two posts in this series, the general scope and underlying agenda of the Government’s Review of judicial review and the possibility of codifying the grounds of review, I turn now to the matter of justiciability. If the Review’s terms of reference are generally sparse, what they have to say about … Continue reading The Judicial Review Review III: Limiting judicial review by ‘clarifying’ non-justiciability — or putting lipstick on the proverbial pig
In my first post on the Review of judicial review, I noted, among other things, the potentially far-reaching nature of the recommendations that might emerge, bearing in mind the Review’s notably broad terms of reference. As I also noted in my first post, the underlying agenda is plainly the limitation of the courts’ powers and … Continue reading The Judicial Review Review II: Codifying Judicial Review — Clarification or Evisceration?