Legal opinion on the Privileges Committee’s ‘Partygate’ inquiry: Some comments
Public Law for Everyone
by Mark Elliott
5M ago
As is well known, the Committee of Privileges is currently holding an inquiry into whether the Prime Minister committed a contempt of Parliament when addressing the House of Commons in relation to matters concerning ‘Partygate’. To a report published on 21 July, the Committee appended a memorandum from its legal adviser, Sir Ernest Ryder, concerning matters of procedure and a paper from the Clerk of the Journals on the notion of contempt. Today saw the publication on the UK Government website of a legal opinion written by Lord Pannick and Jason Pobjoy of Blackstone Chambers concerning the same ..read more
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Boris Johnson’s resignation: Did the constitution work?
Public Law for Everyone
by Mark Elliott
7M ago
Until indications emerged this morning that Boris Johnson accepted what everyone else had known for some time — namely, that his position as leader of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister had become untenable — there was a good deal of talk about a ‘constitutional crisis’. But was there really such a crisis? And, relatedly, was it fair to suggest that the relevant rules were unclear or that matters would have been better dealt with under a written constitution? I’m not sure it was. The relevant constitutional principles are both straightforward and clear — even if some of those principles ..read more
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1,000 words: The Bill of Rights
Public Law for Everyone
by Mark Elliott
8M ago
The British Government has announced its intention to repeal the Human Rights Act 1998 and replace it with a new Bill of Rights. What will this mean for human rights protection in the UK? Some things are not changing. The UK will remain part of the European Convention on Human Rights. This has nothing to do with the European Union. The Convention is an international agreement, or ‘treaty’, that the UK (along with many other countries) has agreed to abide by. As a result, the UK is required by international law to ensure that people in the UK can exercise the rights set out in the Convention. I ..read more
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The UK’s (new) Bill of Rights
Public Law for Everyone
by Mark Elliott
8M ago
When the Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA) was introduced 25 years ago, it was accompanied by a White Paper that proclaimed the Act would ‘bring rights home’ by enabling the enforcement in UK courts of a suite of rights — set out in the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) — that were at least in part inspired by the common law tradition and by the work of British lawyers. How things have changed. The UK Government now proposes to repeal the HRA and replace it with a Bill of Rights Bill. Introducing that Bill in the House of Commons this week, the Justice Secretary, Dominic Raab, distanced him ..read more
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On Lord Geidt’s resignation and its constitutional significance
Public Law for Everyone
by Mark Elliott
8M ago
Less than three years into his premiership, Boris Johnson will (presumably) soon be appointing his third Independent Adviser on Ministers’ Interests. Today, the most recent incumbent, Lord Geidt, resigned. In a resignation statement that was Delphic and succinct in equal measure, he said: ‘With regret, I feel that it is right that I am resigning from my post as Independent Adviser on Ministers’ Interests.’ Geidt’s resignation comes less than two years after that of his predecessor, Sir Alex Allan, who resigned in November 2020 when the Prime Minister refused to accept Allan’s finding that the ..read more
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The Northern Ireland Protocol Bill
Public Law for Everyone
by Mark Elliott
8M ago
Interviewed on LBC, Boris Johnson said that his Government was proposing to legislate in order to make ‘trivial’ changes to the Northern Ireland Protocol. In this post, I will explain what the planned legislation will do, why the changes are not ‘trivial’, why it is, in fact, legally impossible for the UK to make unilateral changes — trivial or otherwise — to the Protocol, and why the legislation will likely place the UK in breach of international law. The Northern Ireland Protocol forms part of the Withdrawal Agreement between the United Kingdom and the European Union. The Protocol creates a ..read more
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Writing a Law essay? Remember to argue!
Public Law for Everyone
by Mark Elliott
1y ago
Providing advice in the abstract about how to write Law essays is difficult because so much depends on the nature of the question you are answering. It’s also important to take into account whatever are the expectations for your particular course, degree programme or university. Nevertheless, a useful rule of thumb, I think, is that a good Law essay will normally set out and advance a clear thesis or argument. (Note that I’m referring here to essays as distinct from problem questions: the latter call for a different approach.) The need for an argument Some answers explicitly call for this. Tak ..read more
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The common law and the European Convention on Human Rights: Do we need both?
Public Law for Everyone
by Mark Elliott
1y ago
This post was first published on the Constitutional Law Matters website and is reposted here with permission. It forms part of a series of posts that Professor Alison Young and I are writing against the background of the Independent Human Rights Act Review and the Government consultation arising from it. The Constitutional Law Matters project aims to evaluate whether the UK constitution is (still) fit for purpose and, in doing so, to stimulate public debate about and enhance public understanding of constitutional matters. Constitutional Law Matters can be found on Twitter at @clm_cambridge. In ..read more
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Do we need a British Bill of Rights?
Public Law for Everyone
by Mark Elliott
1y ago
This post was first published on the Constitutional Law Matters website and is reposted here with permission. It forms part of a series of posts that Professor Alison Young and I are writing against the background of the Independent Human Rights Act Review and the Government consultation arising from it. The Constitutional Law Matters project aims to evaluate whether the UK constitution is (still) fit for purpose and, in doing so, to stimulate public debate about and enhance public understanding of constitutional matters. Constitutional Law Matters can be found on Twitter at @clm_cambridge. It ..read more
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Response to the Attorney-General’s Public Law Project keynote speech
Public Law for Everyone
by Mark Elliott
1y ago
On 19 October 2021, the Attorney-General gave a major speech to the Public Law Project’s judicial review conference. In the speech, she argued that courts have been improperly interfering in political matters and considers what steps might be taken in order to remedy this. In this video, I argue that the Attorney-General’s claims regarding improper judicial interference in political issues are ill-conceived and take issue with the position she appears to adopt regarding solutions to the perceived problem. I have also set out some thoughts in this regard in the following Twitter thread: Foll ..read more
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