Don’t abuse the Brexit litigants: their action shows that we live in a free country

The law firm Mishcon de Reya is bringing an action to force the Prime Minister, whoever she (or just conceivably he) may be, to obtain Parliamentary approval before issuing that all-important Article 50 notification.

The question in issue is a deceptively simple one but it has divided lawyers. Can the Prime Minister invoke Article 50 as an act of Royal Prerogative; or will she need to persuade Parliament to pass legislation before doing so? Continue reading “Don’t abuse the Brexit litigants: their action shows that we live in a free country”

The Referendum now poses a serious threat to Parliamentary Democracy

Forget about the online petition. We do not have government by petition, particularly not when we don’t know how many of the online signatories are even British, or are duplicates, or computerised bots or in some other way bogus. No matter how many signatures the petition garners it will not result in a re-run of the referendum, and nor should it.

Forget too about Members of the Scottish Parliament metaphorically flooding down from the Cheviots, sgian-dubhs flashing in the pale northern sunlight, rushing to save the Sassenachs from the consequences of their folly. The argument – publicised and explained here by the ever-lucid Jolyon Maugham – is rather complex and explained better by him than by me but essentially it’s this: Continue reading “The Referendum now poses a serious threat to Parliamentary Democracy”

We must remain in the EU for peace and prosperity.

The time for agnosticism about the EU referendum is over. Those of us who have been sitting on the fence now need to decide which way to vote.

A few weeks ago I was still an agnostic. Not any longer. The weight of Barristerblogger is very modest – but for what it is worth it is now firmly behind the Remain campaign.

I have great personal respect for many, though not all, of the Leave campaigners but I think they have lost every important argument. Continue reading “We must remain in the EU for peace and prosperity.”

Is the Prime Minister’s Brussels Deal Legally Binding?

Mr Gove, the Minister of Justice and Lord Chancellor, told Radio 4’s Today Programme this morning that Mr Cameron’s hard fought deal in Brussels was “not legally binding.”

Downing Street has replied indignantly that Mr Gove is wrong. The current Attorney-General Jeremy Wright, and his immediate predecessor Dominic Grieve have both joined in with supportive words for the Prime Minister, although interestingly neither has actually used the words “legally binding.”

Gove: Cameron's deal is not legally binding.
Gove: Cameron’s deal is not legally binding.

Who is right?

Lawyers like to sit on the fence, and there are one or two caveats, but essentially Mr Gove is right. The agreement is not legally binding. Continue reading “Is the Prime Minister’s Brussels Deal Legally Binding?”