Brexit’s Great Repeal Bill is a never-attempted ‘massive problem’: is Oxbridge prof stating the obvious to Lords’ committee?

There was also a lot of talk about Henry VIII clauses and Acquis Communautaire

parliament

The House of Lords’ Constitutional Committee, which includes Article 50 hero Lord Pannick QC, heard from three Oxbridge law professors this week on the challenges faced in bringing in the Great Repeal Bill, aka the legislation which will realise Brexit.

Professors Paul Craig (Oxford), John Bell (Cambridge) and Alison Young (Oxford) appeared unanimous in their view that in terms of a legislative process, Brexit is “a massive problem”. Professor Craig — who spoke to Legal Cheek about the aftermath of the Brexit vote — told the committee that it was a question of scale: “size matters here…. no one has ever attempted this kind of manoeuvre before.”

From a legislative point of view, the bill has to grapple with how to translate Acquis Communautaire (which, as all EU law students know, means accumulated legislation, legal acts, and court decisions which constitute the body of European law) into UK law in the next two years, the committee heard.

Professor Craig speculated (though didn’t believe it likely) that it could be a short bill which would be a “window through which the entirety of Acquis Communautaire is brought into UK law with the detail to be worked out afterwards.”

Professor Paul Craig
Professor Paul Craig

There was also bemusement on what should be parliament’s response if the government proposes to use wide-ranging Henry VIII clauses (which gives it the power to amend, repeal or improve legislation without oversight or scrutiny from parliament) to convert EU law into UK law, which it is likely to have to do given “the massive problem” it faces in purely practical terms.

Meanwhile, over in the House of Commons in a Justice Select Committee meeting, top lawyers were giving evidence on a related issue: the impact of Brexit on the legal services industry.

This MP-based committee heard that without freedom of movement of workers and with the UK’s exit from the single market, the industry could be in tatters. “Nothing else of much importance is going to be salvaged,” was Andrew Langdon QC, chair of the Bar Council’s, dramatic prediction.

Alongside Langdon, three others bemoaned the fate of the legal services industry, which generated £25.7 billion for the UK economy in 2015 and contributed £3.6 billion in net export value to the balance of payments. These were Simon Gleeson, financial services guru and partner at Clifford Chance, Alison Hook, co-founder of Hook Tangaza, and Law Society top dog Robert Bourns.

The Lord Chancellor Liz Truss has, however, been keen to be seen to be active in defending the sector. In a City-based lunch recently she spoke of a “bold and bright future” for legal services and stated:

We are already working to make sure we get the best possible deal for the profession.

The jury is out on this one: though legal services was highlighted as an example of a “highly competitive” sector by Prime Minister Theresa May in the government’s new industrial strategy green paper, it is not one of the five sectors which will receive special government support. (The lucky winners of that are: life sciences, electric cars, industrial digitalisation, the creative and nuclear industries.)

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26 Comments

Just Anonymous

So what?

I agree this will probably be complex and probably very difficult. But that only gets us to the conclusion that we need to exercise great care and skill when doing it, in order to make sure we get it right.

If you’re trying to insinuate that because it’s so difficult, we therefore shouldn’t do it at all – sorry, that decision has already been made. We’re leaving. If you don’t like that decision, fair enough. I’m not sure I do. But not liking a decision doesn’t give us the right to whinge like children and ignore it.

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Anonymous

You are gambling with your futures, that’s all. I am glad I can just pack my belongings and leave this country at any time, but many can’t. Naive, very naive.

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Just Anonymous

Irrelevant. That argument was quite properly made at the time of the referendum. The country heard it. The country (by a majority) rejected it.

It’s time you move on and accept you lost.

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Anonymous

Brexit means Brexit. Advisory referendum means advisory referendum? No.
Deception means deception. Truth means lie, lie means truth. It’s all flexible.

Will our children ever forgive us for this dismal, corrupted inheritance?

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Pantman

But that only gets us to the conclusion that we need to exercise great care and skill when doing it…

Do we have a government that illustrates great care and skill? Have we ever had such a government?

Apart from anything else, the reason I voted to REMAIN in the EU was that the thought of the Tory lunatic fringe taking over the country and steering it away from the EU just didn’t bear contemplation. It seems that the great unwashed had no such foresight.

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Other Family Memeber

Brexit is like a revolution, or a coup if you must. People spoke, motion set, time for the capable few to pick up the pieces and move on.

Failing that, there is always Art 49…

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Anonymous

It’s quite clear that by 2040 mainstream parties will be running election campaigns on the promise to take us back into the EU, and that the public will vote for them.

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SingaporeSwing

That will Ben basically impossible by then. Either the EU will cease to exist, or voters will baulknat accepting the euro single currency.

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Pantman

Kind of depends on the state of the nation and the global economy at that point. Might be happy to dump sterling if it’s fallen into the same class as the lira, pesata or drachma (that’s why the Italians, Spanish and Greeks want the euro, despite the hardship it allegedly causes).

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Not Amused

I think that it is important to be clear on how the Euro works and why nation states want it. It is all about borrowing. Switching to the Euro means that you, as a country, can suddenly borrow much more money than you could when you were tied to your old currency.

Why would a nation state want to borrow?

It wouldn’t. But the democratically elected government of said nation would. By borrowing the state can create a mini economic bubble. The illusion of sudden prosperity can be created and with luck the elected politician can ride out the wave before the inevitable crash. They then aren’t responsible for the new debt.

This is the story of almost every new Eurozone member. It is also why the Euro needs to admit new members. It is why Goldman Sachs are paid large amounts of money to pretend that new countries qualify for the Euro. It is why in the middle of the last Greek debt crisis (the new one is coming soon) the Eurozone admitted Latvia.

Effectively the Euro is a form of giant Ponzi scheme. It is why it will probably fail.

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Pantman

Obviously that is the sceptical view. The alternative (but not ‘alt’) view is that the euro gives these economies a stability that they never had in the past. A glance at the instability and inflation levels of the currencies I previously mentioned should persuade most people.

At the end of the day the Greek people voted to retain the euro as their currency – so that they could have stability (if accompanied by pain) in their economy. The alternative is to reintroduce their own currency and let inflation take care of the debt.

Of course, you are right, the euro gives these governments the ability to borrow. But that is, to a certain extent, because those governments are restricted in what they can do to avoid the debts they incur, and because they have more stable economies. This is a side effect of the euro, stability (and transactional stability) is its raison d’etre.

Why is Latvia joining the euro a bad thing?

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Trumpenkrieg

Instead of sucking it up and getting on with it, these whiners are going to carry on whining into the notification, negotiation timetable, Brexit itself, and beyond. It’s revealing of just how much they hate this country, and the notion of countries in general that they won’t play ball and advocate for a Brexit that embodies their values.

This post has been moderated because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

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