Saturday, 31 December 2016

Happy New Year 2017

: A Very Happy New Year 2017 :





Brexit litigation in the Supreme Court - the case for Miller, Dos Santos and others (1)

As can be seen from the previous two posts - here and here - the government mounted a powerful assault against the High Court's decision that the Secretary of State does not have the power under the Crown's prerogative to give notice pursuant to Article 50 of the TEU for the United Kingdom to withdraw from the European Union -R (Miller and Dos Santos) v Secretary of State for Exiting the EU [2016] EWHC 2768 (Admin).

Writing on the UK Constitutional Law blog (15th October), Professor Sionaidh Douglas-Scott noted the large number of commentators who were critical of the High Court judgment - (see, for example, the postings on the Judicial Power Project) - and who sought to provide what were perceived to be stronger arguments, often in highly technical, elaborate detail, that the government might use.  Much of this material was indeed used by the government to mount its appeal - e.g. the article about the prerogative by Professor Timothy Endicott.

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Brexit litigation in the Supreme Court - Miller and Dos Santos - the government case (2)

This post continues looking at the arguments put forward by the government in its appeal against the High Court's decision in R (Miller and Dos Santos) v Secretary of State for Exiting the EU [2016] EWHC 2768 (Admin).  The High Court held that the Secretary of State does not have the power under the Crown's prerogative to give notice pursuant to Article 50 of the TEU for the United Kingdom to withdraw from the European Union.  The first post looked at the first 3 of 6 stages in the submissions put forward by Mr James Eadie QC on behalf of the government.

D)  Application -

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Brexit litigation in the Supreme Court - Miller and Dos Santos - the government case (1)

The government's appeal to the Supreme Court was from the decision of the High Court R(Miller and Dos Santos) v Secretary of State for Exiting the EU [2016] EWHC 2768 (Admin).   Transcripts of the High Court hearing are at the Courts and Tribunals Judiciary website and the judgment was considered in 3 earlier posts on this blog.  The High Court held that the Secretary of State does not have power under the Crown's prerogative to give notice pursuant to Article 50 of the TEU for the United Kingdom to withdraw from the European Union. 

Day 1 - Morning and afternoon combined (PDF) - Mr Eadie from page 16. 

Day 2 - Morning and afternoon combined (PDF)

The government's written case

Monday, 26 December 2016

Brexit litigation in the Supreme Court - Devolution (4) - Government case

This is the 4th post on devolution issues in the Supreme Court of the UK Brexit litigation and looks at the submissions by the Advocate General for Scotland (Lord Keen of Elie QC) and by the Attorney-General for Northern Ireland (Mr John Larkin QC).

The government submitted a supplementary written case - Supplementary: Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union (devolution issues).

Advocate General for Scotland (AGS)

Transcript Day 2 at pages 74 to 117. 

The Advocate General also adopted as part of his case a paper on devolution issues by Dr Tony McGleenan QC and Paul McLaughlin.

The AGS addressed 3 themes.  (1) Sovereignty and the prerogative; (2) the constitutional status of the devolution legislation and (3) the Sewel Convention.

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Brexit litigation in the Supreme Court - Devolution (3) - Lord Advocate for Scotland and Counsel General for Wales

The castle at Harlech
This is the 3rd post looking at the devolution aspects of the Brexit litigation in the Supreme Court of the UK.  The post looks at the submissions by the Lord Advocate for Scotland (Mr James Wolffe QC) and the Counsel General for Wales (Mr Mick Antoniw - represented in court by Mr Richard Gordon QC).

Lord Advocate for Scotland - Transcript Day 3 from page 143 and Day 4 to page 15


Scotland voted in favour of the UK staying in the EU by 62% to 38% (Turnout 67%) - with all 32 council areas backing Remain. 

Friday, 23 December 2016

Brexit litigation in the Supreme Court - Devolution (2) - Northern Ireland

In the European Union (EU) referendum held on 23rd June, the people of Northern Ireland voted (55.8% to 44.2% - turnout 62.7%) to remain in the EU and so it is not surprising to find strong feeling about the plans of the UK government to use prerogative power to give notice, under Article 50 Treaty on European Union, that the whole of the UK is to leave the EU.  If the UK government is successful then the notice could be given without formal reference to the devolved institutions of Northern Ireland.

High Court of Northern Ireland:

The first legal move came with the litigation in the High Court of Northern Ireland before Mr Justice Maguire - Re McCord's Application [2016] NIQB 85.  The court had two applications for judicial review: one by Mr Raymond McCord and the other by various applicants referred to as Agnew and others.  The judgment extends to 158 paragraphs.   Five principal issues were raised (para 9):

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Brexit litigation in the Supreme Court - Devolution (1)

Arguments based on the various devolution settlements were put forward with a view to persuading the Supreme Court to declare that the UK government could not, without further intervention by Parliament, lawfully use prerogative power to give notice to the European Council under Article 50 (Treaty on European Union).  For its part, the UK (central) government argued that the various devolution settlements have not affected its power - (if it exists) - to give the notice.

With the exception of the  judgment of Maguire J in Re McCord's Application [2016] NIQB 85 there were no first instance hearings of the devolution questions - previous post on this case. There were Interventions by the Lord Advocate for Scotland and the Counsel General for Wales.  From Northern Ireland there was a Reference under the Northern Ireland Act 1998 from the Attorney General for Northern Ireland and also from the Court of Appeal Northern Ireland. (See this post for detail of Interveners).

The Supreme Court's oral hearings ran to a timetable and took place against a background of written cases (and supporting materials).


Monday, 19 December 2016

Brexit Litigation in the High Court - Overview of the High Court judgment (3)

This is the third and final Part 3 of my overview of the High Court's judgment in R (Miller and Dis Santos) v Secretary of State for Exiting the EUSee Part 1 and Part 2.

The approach to the interpretation of the ECA 1972 as a constitutional statute – paras 82 to 85


At para 82 the court said - Statutory interpretation, particularly of a constitutional statute which the ECA 1972 is ... must proceed having regard to background constitutional principles which inform the inferences to be drawn as to what Parliament intended by legislating in the terms it did. This is part of the basic approach to be adopted by a court engaging in the process of statutory interpretation. Where background constitutional principles are strong, there is a presumption that Parliament intended to legislate in conformity with them and not to undermine them. One reads the text of the statute in the light of constitutional principle. In the particular context of the primary legislation which falls for interpretation, can it be inferred that a Parliament aware of such constitutional principle and respectful of it intended nonetheless to produce effects at variance with it? 

Brexit Litigation in the High Court - Overview of the High Court judgment (2)



This post is Part 2 of my overview of the High Court's judgment in R (Miller and Dos Santos) v Secretary of State for Exiting the EU.  See also Part 1 and Part 3

The need for the ECA 1972 and its effect on the law of the United Kingdom

Para. 41 of the judgment begins by stating that, as a practical matter, by reason of the limits on its prerogative powers ... the Crown could not have ratified the accession of the United Kingdom to the European Communities under the Community Treaties unless Parliament had enacted legislation.   

The words “as a practical matter” are important here.  In 1972, there was no legal requirement for Parliament to be involved in the ratification of a Treaty.  There was a constitutional convention – known as the Ponsonby Rule – that Treaties subject to ratification were to be laid before both Houses of Parliament for 21 sitting days before ratification took place.  A useful explanation of the Rule and the reasons for it may be read in this 2001 report.

Enacting legislation before ratification avoided the problem that would arise if the government had committed the UK internationally but Parliament had then refused to enact the legislation needed to give effect to the Treaty domestically.  The European Communities Act 1972 received Royal Assent on 17th October 1972 and the instrument of ratification was deposited on 18th October 1972.

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Brexit litigation in the High Court - Overview of the High Court judgment (1)



"It may be there has never been a statute having such profound effects on so many dimensions of our daily lives"  - Lord Justice Laws speaking of the European Communities Act 1972 in Thoburn v Sunderland City Council [2003] QB 151 (DC)

This post and the posts to follow, look at the Brexit litigation before the High Court and in the Supreme Court of the UK.  The High Court judgment is R(Miller and Dos Santos) v Secretary of State for Exiting the EU [2016] EWHC 2768 (Admin) from which the government appealed.   Transcripts of the High Court hearing are at the Courts and Tribunals Judiciary website.  The Court of Appeal (Civil Division) did not participate in this case.   When the appeal was heard in the Supreme Court there were additional elements including, in particular, devolution questions and a reference from the Court of Appeal of Northern Ireland.  

By way of background, it is useful to note here the process which led to the UK’s accession to the Treaties and how the European Communities Act 1972 came about – previous post of 24th August. It is a good example of the UK’s dualist approach to the relationship between Treaties and Domestic Law.

Monday, 12 December 2016

Catch up

A)  Here is a brief "catch up" on matters relating to a few older posts.

1.  The Edlington (S. Yorkshire) brothers have been granted indefinite anonymity - BBC News 9th December and previous post.   The brothers were sentenced to indeterminate detention for offences against three others.  The offences included causing grievous bodily harm, robbery and causing or inciting a child under the age of 13 to engage in sexual activity.  In 2012 a Review by Lord Carlile QC of the Edlington case was published - see the report

2.  The Scottish High Court of Justiciary has rejected an application for "Criminal Letters" brought by relatives of those killed in Glasgow when, in December 2014, a bin lorry went out of control - BBC News 9th December  

What did Parliament mean? Can Parliamentary materials be allowed to tell us?

A previous post looked at the Mountains of Material presented to the Supreme Court in the Brexit appeal.  Very early in the appeal, the Attorney General referred to what the Foreign Secretary had said during the second reading of the European Union Referendum Bill - see pages 5/6 of the Day 1 transcript.

The transcript for 7th December, contains this brief exchange between Lord Pannick QC and Lord Neuberger - at page 4 line 3 to page 6 line 17.   Lord Neuberger stated: - "The only trouble with looking at what was said on the floor of the House, and as you say, we don't want to go too much into this, is what  a minister or somebody else says does not necessarily represent the reason why people vote, or what they believe when they vote. It is like going into what people say about their contracts when  construing their contracts, and that way madness can be said to lie, because you then start looking at everything said in Parliament and balancing up -- it can be a very treacherous course."  The matter was basically left there.


Saturday, 10 December 2016

Absent from the feast?

One matter was very conspicuous by its absence in the Supreme Court Brexit hearing this week.  The absentee was the question of whether there ought to be a preliminary reference to the Court of Justice of the EU on whether a notice under Article 50 (Treaty on European Union) may be withdrawn unilaterally once given.  The question was not overlooked by the parties in their written cases - see, for example, the written case of Miller at pages 13 and 14 where it is said that the parties were content to proceed on the basis that notice could not be withdrawn. 

Thursday, 8 December 2016

The Brexit appeal ~ mountains of material

The argument in Brexit case is notable for the extensive citation of  cases, Acts of Parliament, historical material, academic opinion, the views of notable lawyers and matters said in Parliament. This post gives a flavour only of the types of material allowed into the case.

On Day 1 (5th December) - transcript here - James Eadie QC (for the government) referred early in his submissions to an article on the prerogative by Professor Endicott (Balliol College, Oxford). I believe that the article referred to was dated 1st December 2016 - Parliament and the Prerogative: from the Case of Proclamations to Miller.

An article written by Lord Millett (supportive of the government's position) gets a mention at page 42 and Lord Millett's "concept of inherency" is referred to again at page 46 and at page 132 Eadie says that the government adopts Millett's analysis at a "more fundamental level."  The court returned to Millett on Day 2 - transcript at pages 42 and 43.  (Lord Millett - Lord of Appeal in Ordinary 1998 to 2004). 

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Opposition Day debate on Brexit

As the Supreme Court hears the government's appeal in the Brexit case, it is worth noting this Opposition Day debate in the House of Commons today (7th December).  Here is the motion as passed by the House:


Resolved, That this House recognises that leaving the EU is the defining issue facing the UK; notes the resolution on parliamentary scrutiny of the UK leaving the EU agreed by the House on 12 October 2016; recognises that it is Parliament’s responsibility to properly scrutinise the Government while respecting the decision of the British people to leave the European Union; confirms that there should be no disclosure of material that could be reasonably judged to damage the UK in any negotiations to depart from the European Union after Article 50 has been triggered; and calls on the Prime Minister to commit to publishing the Government’s plan for leaving the EU before Article 50 is invoked, consistently with the principles agreed without division by this House on 12 October; recognises that this House should respect the wishes of the United Kingdom as expressed in the referendum on 23 June; and further calls on the Government to invoke Article 50 by 31 March 2017.

Who are these Scottish gentlemen?

Followers of the UK government's appeal in the Brexit case will have seen that two Scots lawyers are also involved.

On Tuesday 6th December, the court heard from the Advocate-General for Scotland (Lord Keen of Elie QC).   The Advocate General for Scotland is a Minister of the Crown and is one of the three UK Law Officers. Along with the Attorney General and the Solicitor General for England and Wales, the Advocate General provides legal advice to all UK Government Departments on a wide range of issues including human rights, European law and constitutional law. The Advocate General is the UK Government’s principal legal adviser on Scots law and its senior representative within the Scottish legal community.

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Brexit appeal Day 1 (5th December) - My notes on the Attorney-General's submissions



This post takes a look at the submissions by the Attorney-General (Jeremy Wright QC) in the appeal by the government to the Supreme Court.   Following opening remarks by the Court  President (Lord Neuberger) -  (noted here)  - Mr Wright opened the case  for the government - Transcript for Day 1

The AG began by stating that the case was of “great constitutional significance in which there is understandable and legitimate interest.”  The claimants had brought the case perfectly properly and it was perfectly proper for the court to decide it because the case involved a clear question of law:

whether “the Government has the legal power to give notice under Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union to begin negotiations for the UK's withdrawal from the EU, or whether further specific legislative authority is required to do so.” 

This question goes to the “very heart of our constitutional settlement.”

Monday, 5 December 2016

The Brexit appeal

Updated 9th December

On 3rd November, the High Court handed down its judgment in a case that, for ease of reference, we may just call Miller - here is the High Court judgment.  The court concluded that the Secretary of State does not have power under the Crown's prerogative to give notice pursuant to Article 50 of the TEU for the United Kingdom to withdraw from the European Union.  The government appealed that decision to the Supreme Court.  The High Court judgment stands unless the Supreme Court overrules it. 

Others then became involved as "interested parties", or as "interveners" (e.g. the Lord Advocate for Scotland and the Counsel General for Wales) and there were also two "references" to the court from Northern Ireland.


Summaries:
More information:

Supreme Court’s website and Article 50 Brexit appeal - links to all the written cases

This previous post offered a pre-hearing summary of the appeal.

Transcripts:

Day 1 - Morning and afternoon combined (PDF) 

Day 2 - Morning and afternoon combined (PDF)

Day 3 - Morning and afternoon combined (PDF)

Day 4 - Morning and afternoon combined (PDF)

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Investigatory Powers Act 2016

The Investigatory Powers Act 2016 has received Royal Assent.  Here is an excellent overview of the Act by David Anderson QC (the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation).

LIBERTY have commented about the Act describing it as a 'sad day for democracy' and claiming that ' .... This new law is world-leading – but only as a beacon for despots everywhere ...'

The Solicitor's Journal is concerned about the impact that the legislation may have on legal privilege.

It is an extensive Act with 9 Parts and 10 Schedules.  Much of the Act will come into force in accordance with "Commencement Orders."

Terrorism legislation:

Friday, 2 December 2016

The Brexit appeal - the scene is set



This post takes an admittedly simplified and hopefully straightfoward look at the forthcoming hugely important Brexit case to be heard in the Supreme Court of the UK commencing Monday 5th December - (Supreme Court).  The European Union (EU) referendum held on 23rd June 2016 resulted in an overall UK majority to leave the EU but, significantly, voters in Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to remain.  BBC – Referendum results.

The UK is a member of the EU because the government signed the various Treaties in 1972 and Parliament then enacted the European Communities Act 1972 to give effect to EU law in the UK - (see Note 1 below).  It is an Act to “make provision in connection with the enlargement of the European Communities to include the United Kingdom, together with (for certain purposes) the Channel  Islands, the Isle of Man and Gibraltar.”
 
The Treaty on European Union contains Article 50 enabling a Member State to leave the Union.  The article requires (a) that a decision to leave be made in accordance with national constitutional requirements and (b) that notice of the decision is given to the European Council.  This triggers the leaving process and will at some point result in EU law ceasing to apply in the UK.  Lawyers disagree on whether the UK could unilaterally decide to revoke its notice and thereby reverse the process.  A definitive legal answer to that question would necessitate a journey to the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU).  If the Supreme Court were to consider that an answer was necessary to decide the appeal then, as a final court of appeal, a reference to the CJEU would have to be made - (see Note 2 below).  There is generally a discernible lack of appetite for that course.

Monday, 28 November 2016

The Brexit case ~ the material comes together

UPDATED 12th December 2016

The High Court Decision:

The Queen on the application of (1) Gina Miller and others; (2) Deir Tozetti Dos Santos v The Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union.   Here is the High Court's full judgment.

Transcripts of the High Court hearing

Update 1/12/16 - Supreme Court - Article 50 Brexit appeal - links to all the written cases

Update 2/12/16 - Supreme Court - Full details of the hearings including timetable

Another Brexit conundrum ~ a note

The BBC 28th November - Brexit: Legal battle over UK's single market membership - reports that  "the government is facing a legal battle over whether the UK stays inside the single market after it has left the EU ...... Lawyers say uncertainty over the UK's European Economic Area membership means ministers could be stopped from taking Britain out of the single market.  They will argue the UK will not leave the EEA automatically when it leaves the EU and Parliament should decide.  But the government said EEA membership ends when the UK leaves the EU."

The government's appeal

Thursday, 24 November 2016

R v Thomas Mair

Thomas Mair stood trial at the Central Criminal Court (Mr Justice Wilkie and a jury) for the murder of Member of Parliament Jo Cox and for a number of other offences.  He was convicted and the judge's sentencing remarks have been published - HERE.  The judge concluded that the murder was of such a high level of seriousness that it could only properly be marked by a whole life sentence though the judge noted the possibility of release by the executive "on humanitarian grounds" to allow him, as the judge put it, "to die at home."

See also the Crown Prosecution Service statement.

A few points about the case stand out. 

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Scotland - A European Nation



The Scottish government has published Scotland - A European Nation

The document outlines Scotland’s extensive historical engagement with Europe and its present democratic and constitutional position in relation to the UK, Europe and Brexit.  Aimed at an international audience, the document  explains the historical, political and legal reasons why Scotland’s voice needs to be heard following the EU Referendum.  In addition the Scottish Government has set out its intention to publish plans to maintain Scotland’s relationship with Europe in the coming weeks.

Monday, 21 November 2016

A few items ....



The Independent Council of Law Reporting (ICLR) has issued its Weekly Notes.   The Notes look at the Investigatory Powers Bill, a report on Surveillance Cameras, the "Multi-Party Brexitigation", "Halegate" - the Azlan Shah lecture in Malaysia, the views of Lord Judge regarding the Lord Chancellor's inadequate defence of judicial independence and much more.
Nobody actually has a definitive answer to whether a notice to withdraw under Article 50 Treaty on European Union) may be revoked unilaterally be the State that gave the notice.    Notable opinions go either-way.  Here is the latest - Exeter University - Aurel Sari

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Brexit - take a break ~ what else is happening?

By way of a change, let's have a look at some things going on apart from the Brexit litigation.

I am beginning this post with a link to an excellent and reflective piece on the Jamie Foster blog - On Laughter and Forgetting - "So while the great and the good talk of cabbages and kings I remember those who have touched me with a fondness bordering on enthusiasm...."  For my part, I wish this blog well and hope it continues for a long time to come.

In many ways, family lawyers and social workers are among the unsung heroes of our time.  Their work rarely gets a mention unless something goes seriously wrong as it did in the Baby P situation back in 2007. The private law aspect of family law work has seen deep cuts to legal aid provision since the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2011 (LASPO).  Marilyn Stowe's first class blog takes a look at family law matters.

Friday, 18 November 2016

Interventions in the Brexit appeal

***** The Government's grounds of appeal have been published and extend to 56 pages *****


Edwin Coe LLP - ·Brexit –The Claimant’s Case for the Supreme Court

On 18th November, the Supreme Court announced that certain interventions in the Brexit appeal had been allowed and a further intervention by Lawyers for Britain Ltd was accepted by the court on 25th November - updated announcement.   Lawyers for Britain may only file written submissions.

Intervention of the Lord Advocate 

Counsel General for Wales statement 21st November

The list of interveners is:
  • The Lord Advocate, Scottish Government
  • The Counsel General for Wales, Welsh Government
  • The 'Expat Interveners', George Birnie and Others
  • The Independent Workers Union of Great Britain
  • Lawyers for Britain Ltd (written submissions only)

Additionally, the Attorney General for Northern Ireland has made a reference to the Court regarding devolution issues relating to that jurisdiction. Permission to intervene is therefore not necessary.

With regard to the case brought in Northern Ireland by Raymond McCord see this report

Previous posts - 11th November and 8th November.  A list of links to the views of various writers may be seen HERE and that post contains a general note about interveners.   I will update the list as and when new material comes to my notice.

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Strathcylde Review

BBC report - Plans to curb powers of House of Lords dropped.

Strathclyde Review

It all goes back to the "Tax Credits" which I posted about on 17th December 2015 - A brief note on the Strathclyde Review - a major constitutional change is proposed.

In a Statement to the House of Lords today (17th November) the government indicated that it was prepared to proceed on the basis of Option 3 in the Strathcylde Review but that there would not be primary legislation at this time.   The announcement was broadly welcomed by the House.

Some of the speeches suggested that the government in partnership with Parliament examine ways by which scrutiny of secondary legislation might be improved and there was a potentially useful suggestion that a power to amend be considered rather than the present "take it or leave it" approach.

Whilst secondary legislation

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Azlan Shah Lecture 2016 by Lady Hale - Deputy President of the Supreme Court

Update - Statement from Supreme Court 16th November

Update 19th November - other views

We have come along way from the "Kilmuir rules" that prevented serving members of the judiciary talking publicly about their work - Post of 2nd December 2011.

Lady Hale, Deputy President of the Supreme Court of the UK, has delivered the Sultan Azlan Shah Lecure 2016 entitled The Supreme Court: Guardian of the Constitution?

There is a considerable amount that is of general interest in the speech.  Lady Hale claims

Friday, 11 November 2016

Brexit case ~ Government grounds of appeal

On 10th November, the government published a summary of its grounds for appealing to the Supreme Court of the UK the High Court's judgment in Miller.

The summary may be read HERE.

The case under appeal is the decision of the High Court in The Queen on the application of (1) Gina Miller and others; (2) Deir Tozetti Dos Santos v The Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union.   Here is the High Court's full judgment or via Bailii and previous post with links to the transcripts of the 3 day hearing -High Court hearing on article 50 litigation.

The High Court held that the Secretary of State does not have power under the Crown's prerogative to give notice pursuant to Article 50 of the TEU for the United Kingdom to withdraw from the European Union.

Previous posts - The Article 50 "Brexit" appeal - a note and for links to numerous commentaries on the case see The High Court's decision in Miller - Collection of materials

The appeal will be heard by the Supreme Court en banc - i.e. all 11 of the present justices will sit.  The hearing will commence on 5th December.


Thursday, 10 November 2016

Lord Rodger Memorial Lecture by Lord Neuberger PSC

The President of the Supreme Court, Lord Neuberger, delivered the Lord Rodger Memorial Lecture  in Glasgow in which he talks about the tole of the Supreme Court of the UK in relation to devolution in the UK.

Lord Neuberger gives the Lord Rodger Memorial Lecture 2016 in Glasgow

Power is devolved in the UK to Scotland and to Northern Ireland and Wales.  In each case the model of distribution is different with the result that the overall patchwork is very complex.  Lord Neuberger says (para 42) - " ... if we are not to adopt a written constitution, then there is a strong case for saying it would be necessary to consider a more coherent and principled approach to devolution across the UK" and the speech then refers to a "good starting point" - the House of Lords Select Committee on the Constitution report of May 2016 - The Union and Devolution.

Lord Neuberger ended by saying that " ... the growth of constitutional cases does not justify the expense and confusion of creating a new Constitutional Court ...."  Readers will recall that this was an idea mooted by David Cameron when he was Prime Minister - previous post 8th February 2016.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

The Article 50 "Brexit" Appeal ~ a note

Updated 15th November.

The government's appeal in the Article 50 Brexit case has now been formally lodged with the Supreme Court.  Read the Supreme Court's announcement.  All 11 Justices will sit on the appeal.

The case under appeal is the decision of the High Court in The Queen on the application of (1) Gina Miller and others; (2) Deir Tozetti Dos Santos v The Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union.   Here is the High Court's full judgment or via Bailii and previous post with links to the transcripts of the 3 day hearing -High Court hearing on article 50 litigation.

The High Court held that the Secretary of State does not have power under the Crown's prerogative to give notice pursuant to Article 50 of the TEU for the United Kingdom to withdraw from the European Union.

The Supreme Court

Monday, 7 November 2016

The High Court's decision in Miller - Collection of materials

"Justice is not a cloistered virtue: she must be allowed to to suffer scrutiny and respectful, even though outspoken, comments by ordinary men" - Lord Atkin - Ambard v Attorney-General for Trinidad and Tobago [1936] AC 322 (PC).

On 3rd November, the High Court handed down its judgment in a case that, for ease of reference, we may just call Miller - Here is the court's full judgment or via Bailii and previous post with links to the transcripts of the 3 day hearing -High Court hearing on article 50 litigation.  The court concluded that the Secretary of State does not have power under the Crown's prerogative to give notice pursuant to Article 50 of the TEU for the United Kingdom to withdraw from the European Union.

It follows from this conclusion that Parliament will have to somehow authorise the triggering of Article 50 and there are reports that a legislative Bill is being drafted.  The court was considering the process which, as a question of law, should apply to the triggering of Article 50.  The court was definitely NOT considering whether Brexit is desirable or not because that is a matter entirely in the political sphere.

Saturday, 5 November 2016

A jewel beyond price

The judges are now "Enemies of the People" according to a headline in the Daily Mail 4th November 2016.  This is because the High Court decided that Parliament must authorise the giving of notice that the UK has decided to leave the EU.  The headline disgusts me.

It does not matter whether one thinks that Parliament should be involved in this absolutely vital decision or whether it is in order for Ministers to give the required notice under "Royal Prerogative" powers without seeking any authority from Parliament.  Legal opinion on that differs.  The point is that British judges are independent and are charged, under their judicial oath, to carry out their duties "according to law" and "without fear or favour."  The judges were asked to decide a point of constitutional law and they discharged their duty in the full knowledge that the decision would be unpopular in some quarters and that it would attract severe criticism from a number of notable politicians and others who ought to know better.

An independent and fearless judiciary is a jewel beyond price.  It is our duty as citizens of the United Kingdom to stand up for that principle.

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Brexit litigation - the High Court judgment

Updated 4th and 6th November - lots of opinion - see links to 21 articles at the end.

The claimants succeeded in their argument that Article 50 may not be triggered without the further involvement of Parliament. So held the High Court in M and Santos v Secretary of State for Exiting the EU.  See the court's full judgment via Bailii.

Previous post with links to the transcripts of the 3 day hearing -High Court hearing on article 50 litigation.

It is to be noted that the government (via its lawyers) accepted that the matter was a proper one to be heard by the courts and the court was at pains to point out that they were not saying anything about the merits or demerits of a withdrawal by the UK from the EU.  At para. 5 of the judgment, the court said:

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Brexit - the Article 50 litigation

The High Court will hand down its judgment in the "Brexit / Article 50" litigation at 10 am this morning.

Whichever way the litigation goes, there is a possibility of an appeal to the Supreme Court though an appeal is not inevitable.

Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) sets out the process by which a member state may leave the European Union (EU).  Article 50 first appeared in EU law in the 2009 Treaty of Lisbon and the article has never been tested previously in any court.    The article requires that the member state makes a decision to leave in accordance with its own constitutional requirements.  Having made a decision, article 50 requires that the EU be notified.

Inquiry into Orgreave 1984 ruled out

18th June 1984 saw a massive confrontation between striking miners and the Police at Orgreave, near Rotherham, South Yorkshire.  Previous post - Litanies of lies - Orgreave - Hillsborough.

In November 2012, South Yorkshire Police referred itself to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).  Developments relating to that referral may be seen on the IPCC website -  IPCC - Orgreave Coking Plant referrals.

In December 2015, a legal submission was given to the then Home Secretary (Theresa May MP) asking for either an independent panel (similar to that used in relation to Hillsborough) or a public inquiry. 

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

R v Johnson and others ~ Post Jogee "joint enterprise" appeals

Addendum 10th November:

Northern Ireland - R v Skinner and others [2016] NICA 40.

Background:

The Criminal Appeals Act 1968 section 18 imposes a 28 day time limit on application to appeal against a conviction but the court has power to permit "out of time" appeals.

The Act also specifies the grounds for allowing an appeal - Criminal Appeals Act 1968 section 2.  The appeal must be allowed if it is "unsafe."

In February 2016, the Supreme Court handed down judgment in R v Jogee - previous post 18th February  - where the court affirmed that the mental element for secondary liability is intention to assist or encourage the crime.  Foresight as to what another may do did not amount, as a matter of law, to intent to assist but it was evidence from which, together with any other evidence, intent could be inferred.   The court unanimously, put the law back on the footing which stood before Chan Wing Siu v The Queen [1985] AC 168 (Judicial Committee of the Privy Council) and  R v Powell, R v English [1999] 1 AC 1

It was to be expected