I posted recently on the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill and its approach to rolling over EU-derived laws into our domestic law. But a law is only as good as its enforcement makes it, and so we all need to think how this is going to be done post-Brexit.
NB: there is nothing in the Bill which touches on enforcement; that is for later, if at all.
The issue arises particularly starkly in the environmental field, where there are not so many players with direct legal and commercial interests around (as in, say, equal pay or competition law) to seek consistent enforcement.
A task force within the UK Environmental Law Association (chaired by Professor Richard Macrory and Andrew Bryce, left and right in the pic) has been applying its mind to this enforcement problem, and on 18 July 2017 published a short and powerful report on the issue – Brexit and Environment Law. Its main messages are these.
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The European Court of Human Rights has upheld the Belgian ban on Islamic burqas and other full-face veils by ruling that it does not violate human rights.
In doing so the Court has held by its position in S.A.S v. France (2014), where it ruled that a similar ban in France was lawful. In these latest cases the Court was asked to rule on the lawfulness of such bans in Belgium, where the applicants argued it was in violation of Articles 8 (right to respect for private and family life) and 9 (freedom of thought, conscience and religion) of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Belcacemi and Oussar v. Belgium
This case concerned the compatibility of a Belgian law introduced on 1st June 2011 which banned the wearing in public places of clothing which partially or totally covers the face. The applicants, Samia Belcacemi and Yamina Oussar both claimed that they had chosen to wear the niqab (a veil which totally covers the face except for the eyes) because of their religious beliefs, and that the restriction on doing so had violated their human rights. Ms Oussar in particular argued that since she has decided to stay at home and wear the veil there has been a restriction on her private and social life. Continue reading
EU Equality law had its moment in the sun in the week after London Pride with the UK Supreme Court Judgment in the case of Walker v Innospec – albeit that the front page treatment in The Metro was not exactly the same as that in The Telegraph.
Many commentators had feared that the ECJ decision in David Parris v Trinity College Dublin would be a problem but Professor Rob Wintemute argued in this Blog earlier this year that it could be distinguished – and he was proved right. He also had quite a big walk on role in Supreme Court Judgment (see below). Continue reading
European Union (Withdrawal) Bill and Explanatory Notes
The Great Repeal Bill has shrunk more prosaically into the EUWB, but its task is technically arduous. The easy bit is clause 1: the European Communities Act 1972 is repealed on (Br)exit day. Job done? No. Job hardly started.
Campaign against Arms Trade, R(on the application of) v The Secretary of State for International Trade  EWHC 1754 (Admin) – read judgment
Angus McCullough QC acted as Special Advocate supporting the Claimant in this case. He is not associated with the writing of this post.
A challenge to the legality of UK’s sale of arms to Saudi Arabia has failed. The claim sprang from the conflict in Yemen and the border areas of Saudi Arabia. It focussed on airstrikes conducted by a coalition led by Saudi Arabia in support of the legitimate government of Yemen against the Shia-led Houthi rebellion. UK arms export policy states that the government must deny licenses for sale of arms to regimes if there is a ‘clear risk’ that the arms ‘might’ be used in ‘a serious violation of International Humanitarian Law. This in turn is based on the EU Common Position 2008/944/CFSP on arms export control, which explicitly rules out the authorising of arms licences by Member States in these “clear risk” circumstances.
The claimant argued that the body of evidence available in the public domain not only suggested but dictated the conclusion that such a clear risk exists. It was therefore no longer lawful to license the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia.
The High Court dismissed their claim. The CAAT intends to appeal this decision. Continue reading