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Would the UK be forced to exit the EU if it exits the ECHR?

Mr Émile T. McHarsky-Todoroff LL.B (Surrey) LL.M Candidate (LSE), Associate Tutor in EU Law (University of Surrey) and Legal Consultant (Spectrum Legal Consulting).

There has been a considerable degree of noise around both the concept of “Brexit” (a potential UK exit from the EU) and the possibility of the UK withdrawing from the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR) in some fashion. Leaving political arguments to one side, this blog post is interested in whether these two hypotheticals may interconnect; specifically, whether a UK exit from the ECHR would entail that the UK has to also leave the EU. This immediately begs the question of what one means by “has to”. If this is taken to mean a legal requirement that the UK leaves the EU should it choose to withdraw from the ECHR, then the answer is a flat “no”.  While the Lisbon Treaty introduced the machinery for a Member State to leave the Union (now Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU)),[1] there is no “foot to backside” rule in the EU; in other words there is no Treaty provision which specifically allows for a Member State to be ejected from the EU.[2] Therefore, this post will aim to explore the different legal tools which could be used to push the UK out of the EU door. Continue reading “Would the UK be forced to exit the EU if it exits the ECHR?”