Doc Law Profile picture
Mar 12, 2018 16 tweets 7 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
1. The EU (Withdrawal) Bill the most important bill Parliament has deliberated for decades; its a constitutional and legal minefield. At present, my job is to amend several modules on an LLB Law course to prepare for Brexit. This thread highlights some issues.

2. The EUW Bill does 3 things: repeals the ECA 1972; turns existing EU law into UK law; and gives govt Ministers the power to amend, discard and replace 'retained EU law' (EU laws converted into domestic law by the Bill). The latter equates to unprecedented Executive power.
3. The Bill's crucial for Brexit to happen, not least because the ECA 1972 has acted as a conduit for EU laws to be enshrined in domestic law for over 40 years. We've not the time to replace them with new legislation between now & March; a cut-and-paste approach has been adopted.
4. Paradoxically, Ministerial power to amend, repeal or replace EU law brought in via the ECA is crucial as it becomes domestic law. Ironic, considering the Leave rhetoric has been to take back control of our laws when in reality we are simply enshrining EU law as UK law.
5. The power to amend, repeal or replace EU law will also be a race against time as Ministers will only have 2 years from exit day to do so. This will cause a constitutional anomaly where the fundamental principle of Parliament making law will pass to the Government.
6. The might and scope of the new powers given to Ministers is both astounding and alarming. Some of the powers granted by the Bill can be used to 'make any provision that could be made by an Act of Parliament'. This is what has become notoriously known as Henry VIII power.
7. New Ministerial powers take on a unprecedented change of authority, where Ministers will be able to not only to amend, repeal or replace EU law but also to amend/repeal other Acts of Parliament; creating a massive transfer of power from Parliament to the Govt (Executive).
8. In addition, Ministers will need to create new UK public authorities to take over the role of crucial regulatory functions carried out by EU agencies. This will be timely and expensive and open the door to laissez-faire style deregulation (neo-liberalism).
9. The Bill doesn't give Parliament strong powers of oversight and control. This means that powers to scrutinise and reject regulations have been dismissed despite justifiable Constitution Committee arguments that extraordinary powers called for extraordinary safeguards.
10. Most regulations made by Ministers under the EUW Bill will be rubber stamped. 1979 was the last time Parlia objected to a regulation. Very few regs will be dealt with by positive Parlia approval. 1000s of regs will need to be made without meaningful parliamentary scrutiny.
11. The EUW Bill repatriates powers, even on devolved matters, to London. This is the 'power grab' Scot and Welsh politicians refer to. The Bill can effectively undo devolution with the Executive being able to cherrypick which matters it returns to devolved institutions.
12. The powers granted by the Bill are extraordinarily ambiguous & broad. The issue of territorial competences risks destabilising the union between the home nations; and the Irish border issue serves to compound fears about England standing alone with the Union Jack in shreads.
13. The Bill creates rather than resolves Brexit uncertainty. The scale of the uncertainty that lies ahead is unfathomable cuz the number & volume of decisions that must be taken as EU law is converted into UK law is vast & we still don't know the content of any EU-UK agreement.
14. The EUW Bill is depicted as the quintessence of taking back of control and returning 'sovereignty' to Parliament. The harsh legal and constitutional reality has laid waste to this erroneous fetishism. A hangover is looming for those drunk on the notion of taking back control.
15. A current dilema for constitutional lawyers is which EU laws will be converted into primary legislation or secondary measures. Total figures range from 10-20K. On average 35 pieces of primary legislation are dealt with by Parliament anually. 5K = 143 (years); 20K = 571.
16. The average figures of primary legislation per annum (35 p/a over the last 20 ys) equate to 250 pieces p/a on 5K: that means 1000 pieces per annum for 20K. The pattern in the EU is similar to the UK: number of secondary/tertiary instruments far exceeds primary legislation.

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More from @doclaw13

Apr 4, 2018
1. It is time it is made clear that one limb of our constitution - the judicary - will be thrown into legal chaos on exit day. No ifs, no buts, no coconuts! We all know civilised society depends on a functioning legal system; we're unlikely to have that. #FBPE #lawlessBrexit #FBR
2. Brexit has created divisions in Parliament and the public domain. Regardless of whether someone is Pro-EU or Pro-Brexit, there are far-reaching aftereffects relevant to the UK’s exit that must be addressed to ensure continuity and legal certainty on and after exit day.
3. The UK leaving the EU poses a significant challenge not simply for the Government and Parliament but also for the legal systems in the four Nations; it is a legal undertaking of a type and scale that is unique and unprecedented. Its a nightmare. #ABTV #WATON
Read 10 tweets
Mar 31, 2018
1. Do you want to HURT the Tories for Brexit?

Well, here's how in a short thread:

The Govt’s proposal to delegate primary law making powers away from the scrutinising gaze of Parliament (thro the EUW Bill) relies heavily on local councils.

#FBR @nickreeves9876 #ABTV #FBPE
2. The legislative task presents at a national level offers an opportunity for Local Government to stake some claims. The local elections give US the opportunity to scuttle that plan. Put simply, Local Councilors have an eye on a bit of a power grab of their own here. #ABTV
3. Local authorities will have to take powers from Brussels (well, London) if Brexit plans are to be successful - the Govt doesn't have many options to implement the legislative power grab from our sovereign parliament - the task is just too vast. #ABTV
Read 8 tweets
Mar 15, 2018
a. The HoLs Constitution Committee stated the EUW Bill ‘risks fundamentally undermining legal certainty’. The statement echoes concerns that are reverberating through the UK legal system whilst being overlooked in the Brexit debate. Here are the issues:
b. The Committee’s view echoes mine: crucial sections of the Bill are ‘conceptually flawed’ & that ‘retained EU law’ should form part of an Act of Parliament on Brexit day in order to safeguard legal certainty.
c. There is an insidious fallacy from Brexiteers that we are returning sovereignty to Parliament and 'taking back control' of our laws. The harsh legal and constitutional reality of the Bill demonstrates this to be nothing but a fetish. We will be doing nothing of the sort. #FBR
Read 20 tweets

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