UK & other courts
A hearing has been brought in the Upper Tribunal by Rights Watch UK challenging the UK government’s refusal to reveal the legal advice it received justifying the targeted killings of British jihadists abroad following RAF drone strikes in 2015 against two British citizens in Syria.
Evaluation of UK’s international obligations
Following the rejection of the claim for judicial review of the Government’s exporting of arms to Saudi Arabia brought by the NGO Campaign Against the Arms Trade, there has been consideration on the UK Constitutional Law Association blog of the role of judicial deference in this case.
Theresa May has been urged by Liberal Democrat MP Tom Brake to speak out and tell Saudi Arabia to halt the execution of 14 people – including two youngsters – who confessed to crimes under torture. The MP suggested her response will determine whether she intends the UK to be “a global champion of human rights or an apologist for human rights abusers”.
Survivors of the 9/11 attacks have written to Theresa May urging her to make public a British Government report into the extent of Saudi Arabia’s funding of Islamist extremism in the UK, which has allegedly been suppressed by the Government due to a reluctance to criticise the kingdom, with which Britain has long had close strategic and economic ties.
UK’s post-Brexit relationship with the EU
The second round of Brexit negotiations has begun, with David Davis’ opening remarks, though with only a lightning three hour trip to Brussels before leaving other diplomats to the negotiations. Thatcher’s ‘rebate’ on EU budget contributions has been pulled into the Brexit negotiations with the two sides hitting an impasse over the UK’s exit bill.
In a media conference at the close of the second week of talks, Michel Barnier has urged the UK for more ‘clarity’ on where it stands on key issues such as citizens’ rights and the ‘divorce bill’, whilst also stating that he needs to know what Britain is willing to pay before talks can move forward.
In an attempt to increase the UK’s negotiating clout on the issue of nuclear regulation, Britain has put the EU no notice that it has the right to return radioactive waste to the bloc after it leaves. The Financial Times has considered the constraints on reaching a transition deal to leave the EU, arguing that it will be no easy Brexit solution.
Shadow business secretary, Rebecca Long-Bailey, has stated that maintaining access to, or even membership of, the customs union and single market could prove problematic given the political realities of Brexit, but that Labour must be flexible in such areas. The Guardian reports that, according to a YouGov poll and other research, the majority of Brexiteers are keen to compromise on immigration as a trade-off for access to Single Market.
Following a weekend of damaging anonymous leaks, Chris Grayling has denied that there is cabinet infighting over Brexit, particularly as regards Philip Hammond who reportedly ‘wants to frustrate Brexit’. Meanwhile, Gove has refused to back the UK’s position paper which acknowledges that the CJEU will continue to have influence after the date of Brexit.
Gus O’Donnell, former head of the civil service, has stated that squabbles, unrealistic expectations and overburdened administration means UK is in for a ‘rough ride’, whilst Steven Bullock, a former UK negotiator to the EU, has stated that the Government is unprepared and handling the talks in the ‘absolute worst way’ possible and the EU ambassador to the US has stated that the UK doesn’t understand Brexit.
Chris Giles has considered the worst case scenario of ‘no deal’, and how it would impact sectors across the UK whilst the UK in a Changing Europe has published a paper considering the cost of no deal. Meanwhile Lord Kerr, author of Article 50, is among 65 prominent Scots asking for a re-think over Brexit as the ‘disastrous consequences’ are ‘becoming ever clearer’.
The House of Commons Library has published a paper considering the question of the Irish border in the Brexit negotiations, whilst the Lords EU Select Committee has published its report on Brexit and devolution, suggesting Brexit will be a ‘fundamental challenge’ to the future of the UK.
Verbatim transcripts of the Lords EU Committee’s meetings with the European Chief Negotiator, Michel Barnier, and Guy Verhofstadt MEP, the European Parliament’s Brexit Coordinator, have been published, whilst experts have given evidence to the Lords EU External Affairs Sub-Committee on sanctions policy after Brexit.
The annual report and accounts for the Department for Exiting the EU have been published, in which it is stated that £1.2m has been spent on legal costs.
Kingsley Napley have ‘sought to provide some light relief’ at this time of uncertainty with a Brexit crossword.