Thursday, 7 September 2017

House of Lords Constitution Committee - Interim report on EU Withdrawal Bill

The House of Lords Select Committee on the Constitution has issued an Interim Report on the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill - 3rd report Session 2017-19.  The five Chapters in the report an Introduction, EU Law and Exit Day, Delegated powers, Court of Justice of the EU and Devolution.

The report identifies three broad constitutional themes - the relationship between Parliament and the Executive; the rule of law and legal certainty and, thirdly, the stability of the UK's territorial constitution.

The Bill gives the executive
a deep legislative competence and does this my granting multiple "Henry VIII" powers which overlap to a considerable extent and which are not subject to enhanced scrutiny as recommended in this previous report.  "The Bill weaves a tapestry of delegated powers that are breathtaking in terms of both their scope and potency."

The capacity of the Bill to undermine legal certainty is considerable.  The Bill is crucial to the post- Brexit legal system and, as such, legal certainty is essential.  The apparent multiple ambiguities in the Bill are deeply problematic.

The ambiguities and uncertainties in the Bill extend to issues of devolved competence with implications for the balance of power within the UK and the future of the devolution settlements.

"It is a source of considerable regret that the Bill is drafted in a way that renders scrutiny very difficult, and that multiple and fundamental constitutional questions are left unanswered.  We will consider all of these issues in greater detail in our forthcoming inquiry on the Bill."

The EU Collection  - a library of Brexit-related materials

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