Lawyers petition PM for a ‘People’s Vote’

More than 1,500 lawyers signed a letter urging Theresa May to hold a second referendum on the final Brexit deal.

Organised by the group, Lawyers for A People’s Vote, the letter said: ‘A People’s Vote is the most credible and democratic way to ensure the legitimacy of a decision that will profoundly impact generations to come.’

It argued that ‘democratic government is not frozen in time’ and that Parliament should not be bound by the 2016 vote any more than it should be by the 1975 referendum that took Britain into the EU, especially when there were ‘serious questions about the validity’ of the 2016 vote. They also said that voters are entitled to know what they are voting for.

Among the signatories were peers Helena Kennedy and Anthony Lester, more than 40 other QCs including Philippe Sands, Helen Mountfield, Henry Blaxland, Schona Jolly, Ben Emmerson and Hugh Tomlinson, former judge of the European Court of Justice Sir Konrad Schiemann, David Edward, a former judge of the Court of Justice of the European Communities and a smattering of City lawyers.

Meanwhile, a Brexit report from the Bar Council warned that the government’s moves to strip British terrorists of their citizenship was counter-productive, contrary to EU law and deprived the families of British victims of their right to see justice done in the UK courts.

The paper on human rights, the 27th of the Bar Council’s Brexit Papers, pointed to government figures published as a result of a freedom of information request showing that between 2013 and 2015, 60 British citizens were stripped of their nationality, mostly as a result of alleged terrorist activities, and estimated that since then, about 20 people a year have had their nationality removed by the Home Office.

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Interview: Christopher Vajda

As the Prime Minister’s Brexit dealings are awaited, Anthony Inglese meets UK judge to Europe’s top court, Christopher Vajda, who reflects on his journey to the ECJ and six years of judging EU-style

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Electoral law: unfit for the 21st century?

With democracy at risk there’s no excuse for legislative inaction, argue Alison Foster QC, Tom Tabori and Gethin Thomas who make the case for reform and put forward proposals for change

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Dare I mention B***it?

With the urgency to settle the UK’s negotiating position increasing and crunch time approaching, Andrew Walker QC reads the (legal) runes—what will Brexit mean for the Bar?

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Spring 2018: a Brussels Brexit stock-take

Is the rocky road to Brexit obscured by London fog? Taking stock from Brussels, Evanna Fruithof joins calls for fewer speeches and more legal texts

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EU Withdrawal Bill and judicial review: are we ready?

Angus McCullough QC considers the role of judicial review as the EU Withdrawal Bill is enacted, and after Brexit day has dawned

A flash-back to 1980: the first series of the TV sitcom, Yes Minister and a discussion between a Permanent Secretary (Sir Humphrey Appleby) and his Minister (the Rt Hon Jim Hacker MP):

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ECJ status post-Brexit

Will the UK need to keep an eye on ECJ rulings after withdrawal? Rhodri Thompson QC examines the practical and political difficulties

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Westminster Watch

Mark Hatcher examines the issues ahead, as Theresa et al teeter towards Brexit on the Westminster tightrope without the critical parliamentary safety net

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Government’s post-Brexit blueprint raises more questions than answers

The government sketched out plans for the UK’s future relationship with the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in one of its post-Brexit ‘position papers’.

In Enforcement and dispute resolution: a future partnership paper, the government said: ‘In leaving the European Union, we will bring about an end to the direct jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU).

‘The UK and the EU need therefore to agree on how both the provisions of the Withdrawal Agreement, and our new deep and special partnership, can be monitored and implemented to the satisfaction of both sides, and how any disputes which arise can be resolved.’

The paper said the UK wants to: maximise certainty for individuals and businesses; ensure that they can effectively enforce their rights in a timely way; respect the autonomy of EU law and UK legal systems while taking control of our own laws; and continue to respect our international obligations.

It said that the UK will ‘take steps to implement and enforce our agreements with the EU within our domestic legal context’, including providing ‘the appropriate means’ by which individuals and businesses can rely on and enforce rights contained in any agreements, underpinned by the creation of international law obligations which will flow from our agreements with the EU.

Among the options, it seemed to envisage an arrangement similar to the court used by the countries in the European Free Trade Association.

Responding to the paper, the Bar Chair, Andrew Langdon QC, said: ‘The paper raises more questions than it seeks to answer on what is a matter of crucial significance to the UK.’

Langdon said: ‘A number of suggested alternatemechanisms to the CJEU are listed,though it is not clearwhich, if any, thegovernment favours.’

He stressed: ‘Whatever agreement the UK reaches with the EU, there must be some form of dispute resolution process with the EU post-Brexit in which all parties haveconfidence.

‘There are important regulatory, economic and rights-based reasons for ensuring legal certainty which underline the ongoing relevance of the CJEU case law post March 2019.’

He also warned that the EU Withdrawal Bill was a ‘recipe for confusion’ that will leave UK citizens and businesses with less protection against the power of the state.


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Citizens of nowhere?

Colin Yeo examines the status of EU citizens in the UK and British citizens in the EU after Brexit

On 26 June 2017, over a year after the Brexit referendum result, the government finally published its proposals to ‘safeguard the position of EU citizens living in the UK and UK nationals living in the EU’. 

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