Lawyers urge EU to refuse trade deal with UK unless it remains a member of the ECHR

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By Katie King on

The threat of a post-Brexit ‘human rights crisis’ looms

Some of the country’s most notable lawyers have warned that the United Kingdom may be on the verge of a “human rights crisis” post-Brexit, and have urged the EU to intervene.

Prime Minister Theresa May has made it clear she intends to begin Brexit negotiations in the spring and also wishes to withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

With both these withdrawals now a real possibility, lawyers have warned leaving the EU and ECHR “in succession” could have a detrimental impact on our human rights protections, as stated in an open letter published in The Observer.

The letter (click tweet to read in full) has been signed by over 50 barristers and academics including Sir Geoffrey Bindman QC — the founder of law firm Bindmans — and Doughty Street’s Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, who Legal Cheek recently interviewed about her Brexit concerns.

Their fear is that leaving the EU and the ECHR opens the door for the UK to trade “away protections against torture for grubby trade deals with foreign tyrants”. In a move that will have Eurosceptics pulling out their hair, the signatories look to the EU to make sure this doesn’t happen and our human rights are adequately protected. The letter states:

We are calling for the EU to make Britain’s membership of the ECHR a legally binding requirement for any future free trade deal with the UK.

With the focus now on how we go about severing ties with the EU, it may be difficult for Kennedy and friends to push through their pro-European agenda. However, she may have a chance to raise it at the House of Lords today. The upper house will be continuing its deliberations on the Brexit bill in its second reading this afternoon. You can watch live on parliament TV.

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