UK & other courts
The Supreme Court has handed down judgment in KV (Sri Lanka) v Secretary of State for the Home Department  UKSC 10, in effect directing the Home Office and immigration tribunal judges to follow the Istanbul Protocol and give weight to expert medical evidence when determining asylum seekers’ torture claims.
UK and the UN
Just for Kids Law, which provides legal advice and representation to young people, has been given permission to bring a claim against the Home Office, arguing that the use of children as spies is incompatible with international law, in particular the UN convention on the rights of the child.
The Times has reported that the UN has criticised the UK over the lack of legal recourse available in environmental disputes.
Evaluation of UK’s international obligations
A report by the International development committee has stated that the UK Government’s migration policy is ‘disconnected and incoherent’, praising efforts by the Department for International Development, but stating that work was undermined by the Home Office’s approach to asylum seekers and refugees.
The Foreign Office has escalated its conflict with Iran over the imprisonment of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe by granting her diplomatic protection, a step that raises her case from a consular matter to the level of a dispute between the two states.
UK’s post-Brexit relationship with the EU
Theresa May has announced that left-behind towns in England are to get a £1.6bn funding boost as part of a package of measures to win support for her Brexit deal among Labour MPs, though they have said the new cash would not buy their votes. Conservative MPs have also expressed disquiet at the fund.
The European Research Group of Brexiteer MPs has set three tests against which the prime minister’s renegotiation can be measured, including demands for a ‘clear and unconditional’ route out of the backstop and language that ‘must go beyond simply re-emphasising/re-interpreting the temporary nature’ of the arrangement.
Michel Barnier has warned that a delay to Britain’s exit date from the EU is ‘unavoidable,’ even if MPs sign off Theresa May’s deal later this month.
Theresa May has been urged to whip Conservative MPs to keep a no-deal Brexit on the table if her EU agreement is defeated when it comes back for a second crunch Commons vote. Meanwhile, Attorney General Geoffrey Cox has risked fresh anger from Conservative Brexiteers amid reports he has shelved attempts to try and put a time limit or unilateral exit clause on the controversial Northern Ireland backstop.
Former UK ambassador to the EU Sir Ivan Rogers has stated that Theresa May and her circle of advisers did not understand how the EU works, and consequently followed a negotiating strategy in 2016 that was doomed to fail.
For The UK in a Changing Europe Dr Kitty Stewart has discussed the major risks posed to UK social policy of leaving the EU.
Theresa May has been accused of mounting a fresh attempt to ‘bribe’ Labour MPs into voting for her Brexit deal with a promise of new workers’ rights measures. Meanwhile Jeremy Corbyn has met Conservative former ministers promoting a Norway-style Brexit, raising the possibility that Labour could join a cross-party majority to force Theresa May’s hand.
France’s Europe minister, Nathalie Loiseau, has urged Britain to offer fresh proposals to end the Brexit impasse, warning that uncertainty surrounding the UK’s departure from the EU is affecting its neighbours. However, Downing Street has insisted the meaningful vote on Theresa May’s Brexit deal will go ahead as promised on Tuesday, despite negotiations in Brussels stumbling.
Jeremy Hunt has stated that relations with the EU will be ‘poisoned for many years to come’ if Brussels fails to budge in the Brexit talks, as the cabinet ministers leading the negotiations put on hold tentative plans to return to the Belgian capital. Meanwhile, in a last-ditch speech to Brussels, Theresa May is to call on the EU to make concessions on the Irish border.
Theresa May’s Brexit strategy has been dealt a fresh blow as peers voted 207-141 to defeat the Government over its plans for Britain’s post-EU customs ties. She is also making contingency plans amid the expectation she will lose the Commons vote on her Brexit deal again next week, as Downing Street fears her authority will be swept away. The Financial Times has published an article discussing whether Theresa May could get her deal through Parliament.