UK & other courts
The International Court of Justice held hearings last week on an advisory opinion request from the UN General Assembly: Legal consequences of the separation of the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius in 1965.
The Chagos Archipelago was detached from Mauritius by the UK in 1965, when Mauritius was a UK colony, three years before it gained independence in 1968. The islands were turned into a new colony which the UK calls the “British Indian Ocean Territory”. All residents of the Archipelago were removed, and the largest island, Diego Garcia, was made available to the United States for a military base.
The UN General Assembly has asked the Court to consider two issues: firstly, whether the decolonisation of Mauritius was lawfully completed in 1965, and secondly, the legal consequences of the UK’s continued administration of the Chagos Archipelago.
UK and the UN
The UN rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Professor Philip Alston, is investigating the situation in the UK and has called for submissions from anyone in the UK to establish “the most significant human rights violations experienced by people living in poverty and extreme poverty in the UK”.
The UK joined more than 70 countries in Geneva for an international meeting of the Group of Governmental Experts on Lethal Autonomous Weapons, or as they have come to be known, ‘killer robots’.
Evaluation of UK’s international obligations
The Equality and Human Rights Commission has published a paper and written to the Department for Housing, Communities and Local Government (DHCLG) outlining its concerns that the Government is breaching fundamental obligations to protect its citizens’ right to life by failing to address the systemic problems that led to the Grenfell Tower tragedy.
Leading British universities have been accused of turning a blind eye to human rights abuses in Egypt in pursuit of opening campuses under the country’s authoritarian regime.
For The Times, Kirsty Brimelow QC has argued that Theresa May has entered into a security, defence and legal services pact with Nigeria despite its president showing disregard for the rule of law.
The Government is facing a legal challenge over its use of a section of the Intelligence Services Act 1994 which can authorise the involvement of British intelligence officers in torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.
UK’s post-Brexit relationship with the EU
Boris Johnson has accused Theresa May of waving “the white flag” in the Brexit negotiations and predicted that the talks will end in “victory” for the EU. Meanwhile Theresa May is facing fresh pressure over Brexit from Tory marginal seats and her former elections guru Sir Lynton Crosby is reportedly working with Eurosceptic Tories to kill off her Chequers plan.
Michel Barnier has stated that he is ‘strongly’ opposed to parts of Theresa May’s plan, and in meeting with MPs has proposed a Canada-style Brexit deal over the Chequers plan.
Andy Burnham has backed a second referendum on Brexit as a last resort if no deal is achieved. However the Prime Minister has dismissed demands for a so-called People’s Vote on the final Brexit deal – despite growing support for the campaign among her own backbenchers and party donors – saying such a move would be a “betrayal of democracy”. She has also dismissed Boris Johnson’s attack, stating that he has ‘no new ideas’ whilst she is offering ‘serious leadership and a serious plan’.
David Davis has promised to vote against Theresa May’s Brexit plan, with the Financial Times reporting that this raises the prospect that the Prime Minister could be defeated in Parliament later this year.
Upon Parliament resuming following its summer recess, Dominic Raab has given a statement to update on the summer progress of the Brexit negotiations.
Plymouth City Council has claimed to be the first to use the Sustainable Communities Act to try to force the Government to reveal the impact of Brexit.
French president, Emmanuel Macron, has stressed his opposition to a “blind Brexit” in which the UK leaves the EU without clarity on the terms of a future trade deal, fearing that pushing the issue down the line could lead to an extension of the 21-month transition period. Meanwhile the EU27 are planning a “carrot and stick” approach to Brexit at an upcoming summit, offering Theresa May warm words on the Chequers proposals to take to the Conservative conference alongside a sharp warning that they need a plan for Northern Ireland within weeks. Reuters has reported that Angela Merkel has used a speech to a financial conference to state that Germany is doing all it can to ensure the EU and Britain reach a divorce deal but also to warn that success is not guaranteed.
GMB, one of Britain’s biggest unions, has called for a vote on the final Brexit deal in a move that will increase pressure upon Jeremy Corbyn to adopt a similar line.
Carol-Ann O’Keeffe, a senior Irish tax official, has revealed that Ireland is hoping to seal a special Brexit side deal in Brussels allowing it to continue using the UK as a “land bridge” for goods in transit to Dublin without border checks.
Senior Conservative figures have claimed that Theresa May has until November to ditch the Chequers deal before Brexiteers would consider ousting her.
The Financial Times has analysed Dominic Raab, stating that he has established a reputation for energy contrasting with his predecessor, but querying how much sway he has as the real power rests with May and Robbins.
Open Europe’s Pieter Cleppe has outlined the arrangements planned by the EU27 to prepare for a possible ‘No Deal’ Brexit scenario.