Ioanna Hadjiyianni and Amanda Spalding, PhD Candidates, Dickson Poon School of Law, King’s College London
On the 23th of June 2016 the UK public voted to leave the European Union. Neither Whitehall nor the Leave campaign appear to have been prepared for such a result and the many legal and political issues it raises. In this post we will attempt to give an overview of some of the most significant legal questions raised by Brexit and how they might be resolved.
What happens now?
The current state of affairs is that the New Settlement for the United Kingdom within the European Union negotiated by Cameron and reached at the European Council in February 2016 will not apply and no longer exists. The overwhelming question now is whether the result of the EU referendum has legally binding effect and would thus trigger the withdrawal procedure under EU law. The only acceptable procedure for withdrawal from the EU is provided for in Article 50 of the Treaty on the European Union (TEU) as the UK cannot unilaterally withdraw by suspending the European Communities Act 1972 consistently with international law and EU law requirements.
Antonino Cento is an LLB student of the University of Tours (France)/University of Bristol and Editor of the French student-led law journal Le Petit Juriste.
The International Organisation for Migration has said that over a million migrants and refugees have reached Europe in 2015. The legal instrument envisaged for examining asylum claims within the European Union has proven shamefully inadequate to the task. Continue reading →
Review of “Britain Alone! The Implications and Consequences of United Kingdom Exit from the EU”, edited by Patrick J Birkinshaw, Andrea Biondi (European Monographs 96, Kluwer Law International: 2016, hard cover, ISBN 978904115832, 376 pages, £ 100.00)
Matteo Negro, LLM Candidate, King’s College London and Luigi Lonardo, PhD Candidate, King’s College London
“Heavy fog in Channel. Continent cut off.”
The London Times, headline, 22 October 1957
David Cameron has described UK’s Brexit vote as a “once in a generation” decision. The implications of such a decision indeed deserve the full attention of citizens – and all the more so of scholars and practitioners. In this context, the publication of “Britain Alone! The implications and Consequences of United Kingdom Exit from the EU” (Kluwer Law International, 2016, 376 pages), edited by Professors Patrick J. Birkinshaw (Hull University) and Andrea Biondi (King’s College London), is a timely and welcomed publication. It contributes to the public and academic debate, analysing in detail the impact of a Brexit scenario on the UK’s legal system. It explains the legal difficulties of an “open sea”  political choice and swipes away the simplicity of some Leave rhetoric. Continue reading →
Maria Kendrick, Visiting Lecturer and PhD Candidate at King’s College London
On 15 September 2015, when writing on Matrix Chambers’ EU Law blog site eutopia law, (available here) the EU Referendum Bill was passing through the legislative process of the House of Commons. Its legal importance extends not only to its amendments but to the apparent revelation of the sovereignty paradox: ‘both politicians and lawyers alike are citing the preservation of Parliamentary sovereignty as the reason for supporting Brexit whilst at the same time backing the use of a referendum because of a lack of legitimacy in the parliamentary system.’In essence, the use of a referendum is being advocated to circumvent the Parliamentary system in order to provide the opportunity to vote to leave the European Union and restore sovereignty to our national Parliament. Since then, events – but notably not motivations – have progressed. Continue reading →
PhD Fellow, Centre for Comparative and European Constitutional Studies, Faculty of Law, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.
Referendums on European Union (EU)-related issues have occurred in a number of Member States since the foundation of the project, and may be considered highly salient in value in the eyes of voters. While political events such as referendums on EU questions have not featured prominently for the United Kingdom in the recent past, for the first time in decades, before the end of 2017, the United Kingdom will vote on a referendum with options of either remaining in the EU, or choosing to voluntarily leave. This second referendum on the EU, after the previous ballot in 1975, can be traced in numerous political variables. The evolving nature of the EU from the initial internal market, to being a more encompassing actor covering a wider breath of public policies, linked with the rise of popular Euroscepticism, has led to increased scenarios where referendums are availed of in many Member States. This short post looks at some of the experiences that the closest geographical and most closely related neighbouring state to the United Kingdom, has in holding referendums on EU questions. From a legal and political perspective, Ireland offers many lessons and learning outcomes on what the United Kingdom will face, given the Irish familiarity and understanding of referendums on questions of EU nature.