Brexit will not happen, claims head of Durham Law School who said Article 50 wouldn’t be triggered

Don’t throw out your EU law statute books just yet

The head of Durham Law School, Thom Brooks, has told Legal Cheek he still doesn’t think Brexit will happen, despite Article 50 having already been triggered.

Not least the dean of a top Russell Group university and an expert in legal academia spanning many practice areas, Brooks has become an authoritative voice in the Brexit debate. Speaking to Legal Cheek about his forecasts, he confidently said:

Brexit will not happen in a strict sense that the key promises made by the Vote Leave campaign won’t materialise. There’s enormous pressure on the Tories to deliver Brexit, so they will have to show that something (even something small) has changed and they can dress up these changes as a ‘Brexit’.

Brooks — whose research interests include immigration law, jurisprudence and criminal law — went on to say these token changes may look like the ‘deal’ then Prime Minister David Cameron managed to negotiate with the EU. This draft agreement included a broad-brush recognition from Europe that the UK is not committed to further political integration.

Despite American-born Brooks’ assertions that it’ll never happen, Brexit is already having an impact. Law students are worried, law firms are seeking European lawyers over UK qualifiers, solicitors are transferring to the Irish roll, and Brexit’s even being blamed for low retention rates.

If we’re never going to leave the EU, why all the legal profession chaos? Brooks explained:

Any uncertainty isn’t good. Law firms are businesses, and they’re constantly thinking about how they’re going to make their firms compete, and it’s difficult to do this in an economic climate where there’s so much uncertainty. People are simply waiting around to see what Brexit means and what shape it’s going to take.

The fault, he said, lies with the government:

Until the government moves to clarify its position, the uncertainty will persist. It has a responsibility to bring it to an end. So much rests on getting this right and not prolonging the uncertainty.

Brooks ‘we’ll never leave the EU’ sentiments are not new, dating back (at least) to an August 2016 Mail Online article. In this same piece, however, he also said: “I do not think Article 50 will be invoked” — a prediction that proved incorrect in March this year when:

One of several Brexit memes Legal Cheek created

On this, Brooks admits defeat. He was led to believe that the Miller challenge was evidence the Tories were looking to “scapegoat” the courts, i.e. blame their non-triggering of Article 50 on judges, to cover up the fact they didn’t want to trigger it themselves.

“The fact is, the government has got itself into a pickle,” he said. “It’s their party who called the referendum, they’ve been lumped with a result they don’t want to honour but that they said they would. They really don’t have much to play with. They’re probably hoping Brexit fatigue will cause the EU to bend on some issues, but I doubt that will happen. The EU really is calling the shots right now.”

Even if we do end up leaving the EU, don’t expect to wangle out of your European law classes.

Brooks stressed to Legal Cheek that the subject will still be taught at UK law schools because: “even if we did have a hard Brexit, which I don’t believe for a second, we’re only a short distance from the EU and UK lawyers will still need a good general knowledge about what the EU is and what it does.” Factortame lives on.

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56 Comments

Trumpenkriegfinder General

Come on then Trumpage. Now that we’re further down the line, and various chlorine-washed chickens are coming home to roost, enumerate for the delectation of all of us the benefits that Brexit will actually bring. Go on I double dare you !

I’ll just go and get some popcorn….

Incidentally, where is your leader the Brexit Champion-In-Chief Not Amused these days ? Gone awfy quiet since her myriad opinions were exposed as steaming BS has she no ?

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Anonymous

Are his students made aware of his Labour adviser status and political leanings and public politically-biased rantings? At least employers are now made aware of the leadership behind Durham Law School graduates..

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Just Anonymous

Translation:

“I don’t WANT Brexit to happen, so I’m going to keep predicting it won’t, and hope that one day my predictions correspond with reality.”

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Anonymous

I never describe myself as being British any more. I call myself European. Our country should be ashamed of itself and what it has become.

(12)(17)
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Air Hair Lair

Who comes here to call people ‘remoaner cuck’ ? The real Brexit voters, the aging Mail and Express readers, the working class patriots, don’t come near the internet, if they did they wouldn’t come trolling Legal Cheek! It’s the Breitbart and Westmonster kings of misinformation that do that.
Well let’s see you get angry, Banks and Farage, and others that seek to subvert Uk politics, your sweaty red faces fit to explode in impotent rage, as the Tax Free, low regulation and Human Rights abusing utopia slips out of sight as Brexit fails.

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Anonymous

“Brexit will not happen in a strict sense … that the key promises made by the Vote Leave campaign won’t materialise.”

Ok. If you define “Brexit not happening” as “all the lies told by Nigel, Boris et al not coming true” then I think we can all agree it’s not happening. That doesn’t mean we’re not leaving the EU though does it?

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Air Hair Lair

Heh heh, Aug 14, pythonesque Ministery For Exiting the EU now want an unspecified Transition Period to adjust! That’s the start of it!
That’s what our man was telling you, it will be called Brexit, but we will be in the customs union and SM , euratom, ECJ, still paying in, still getting most of the benefits, still subject to the rules, then edging back into a shame faced inclusion in EU Parliament, year by transitional year.
Still going to mess up the economy though, but doubtful Mr P May will lose a pound!

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Anonymous

Oh P May will do very well out of this. A bit of short-selling here and asset re-allocation there. £££s in. Woody Allenesque cnt…

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Anonymous

It never fails to amuse me how people like Brooks keep on about some 350m “lie”. I voted to Leave. I did not do so based on one message on a bus, no matter how desperately the Remainers wish that to be the case for all of those who voted as I did. When I saw the news coverage of the bus, I was genuinely perplexed. “We send £350 million each week to the EU” – ok, I checked it out, well, we DO send £350 million each week to the EU. Sure, we get rebates back over a year later, there are other monies involved, but is that message a lie? No, it’s 100% accurate. So next line, “Let’s fund the NHS instead”. In my mind – ready to listen to arguments from all sides, I took that as “let’s spend some of this money on the NHS instead”, not spend it ALL – who on earth in their right mind would be so stupid as to disregard every other priority we have a nation and blow it all on one area? Common sense people.. Sure I thought, let’s spend some of it on the NHS. When the Remainers came out questioning the syntax of the sentence and calling this message a lie, I really thought these people had lost the mental plot. Were they really questioning something so blatantly obvious? Were they so desperate that they honed in on a message on the side of a bus and were questioning the wording, then assuming everyone was going to think in their hilarious way? To this day, I laugh at the “£350m bus lie” line whenever I hear it, and am astounded to hear that it’s being repeated by the Head of Durham Law School. Just another institution to be wary of then when it comes to reading its research, and those CVs…

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Anonymous

I don’t think that anyone claims that everyone who voted Remain did so because they believed we would receive an extra £350m a week.

However this statement – “We send £350 million each week to the EU. Let’s fund the NHS instead.” – is clearly likely to leave many of its readers with the impression that it is saying that leaving the EU will free up £350m per week to fund the NHS. It’s great that you personally did some research and decided that this would not be the case. (Although even you appear to have voted on the basis that leaving the EU would free up some extra funds to fund the NHS, something that presently seems rather unlikely.)

In any case, the fact that some Leave voters voted for sound reasons does not change the fact that this high profile statement was hugely misleading.

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Anonymous

It wasn’t any research that led me to believe that we would not spend the entire EU budget only on one area of government expenditure, it was basic common sense. Did you really read that message and believe a campaign to leave the EU, with all the issues we have with the EU and all the priorities the campaign desperately wishes to resolve for our country, would say “let’s take ALL the money we spend on the EU and spend it ALL on the NHS only- let’s forget housing, unemployment, border controls, crime, welfare payments, debt payments, reducing tax bills, education and everything we else we fund, nah, let’s give it all to the NHS”. ?!?!

When I say I am not going to eat out this week, I’m going to buy food to cook at home instead, that doesn’t mean I am going to take all the money I would have spent in restaurants and blow the lot at Tesco’s!

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Anonymous

What part of “we DO send £350 million each week to the EU. Sure, we get rebates back over a year later, there are other monies involved, but is that message a lie? No, it’s 100% accurate” in my message are you disagreeing with? All your link has done is prove my point, not yours.

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Anonymous

From the BBC link:
“We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – the UK does not send £350m a week to Brussels – the rebate is deducted before the money is sent, which takes the contribution down to £276m a week.”

That article also makes the point that a further £115m out of that £276m is spent within the UK. So only £161m is actually sent to Brussels.

The broader point is that where the headline is that we “send £350m per week to the EU” it is not reasonable to expect that the reader will just know that a substantial amount of that is returned in the form of rebates. The headline was obviously intended to suggest that leaving the EU would mean we would get an extra £350m to spend in the UK, and that is clearly false. The headline was deliberately misleading.

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Anonymous

The two articles quoted are mistaken: the year’s rebate is NOT applied before the contribution is sent. Subsequent year’s rebates are which reduce the amount to the lower figure often quoted (abut 250m). Please refer to the EU’s own documents which clearly explain the rebates and mechanism if you would like to read how it really works. The campaign got the 350m from the Pink Book, which the ONS admitted itself did not make clear that previous year’s rebates are applied and adjusted years after payment is made.

Quite frankly, if the bus had said 350, 250, or 50m, that wouldn’t have changed anyone’s minds. That’s 350, 350 or 50m that could be better spent here. You either agree with that sentiment or not.

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Anonymous

– Every year’s payment is net of the previous year’s rebate. The fact that this year’s rebate is set off against next year’s payment does not alter the fact that last year’s rebate is deducted from this year’s payment with the effect that the full payment for that year is not made. The full amount is simply never paid to the EU.
– The ONS specifically criticised the £350m per week claim. https://www.statisticsauthority.gov.uk/news/uk-statistics-authority-statement-on-the-use-of-official-statistics-on-contributions-to-the-european-union: “As we have made clear, the UK’s contribution to the EU is paid after the application of the rebate. We have also pointed out that there are payments received by the UK public and private sectors that are relevant here. The continued use of a gross figure in contexts that imply it is a net figure is misleading and undermines trust in official statistics.”
– If the campaign was about a ‘sentiment’ it should not have used statistics that implied there was an calculable budgetary saving. It is quite important that people are given clear and accurate facts in order to base their decision on. That you do not agree with this does not do you any credit.
– It’s not clear there will be even a £50m ‘saving’ because we have no idea what kind of deal we are going to negotiate.

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Air Hair Lair

Who ever believed the £350million lie?
Well why did they ( Gisela, Boris , Gove) bother then ?
It was a clever trick – my racist or zenophobic neighbours and relatives could say, ‘no, no it isn’t because we hate Romanians, we want to save the NHS!’
Also, the three liars above were not in a position to promise anything- but in the eyes of the Express reader, these guys held Government and opposition positions, it was like an election campaign, but Cameron made it advisory so the rules didn’t apply!
Advisory referendum, that’s the biggest con.

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Anonymous

Air Hair Lair, it was an ONS figure from their Pink Book, which the ONS admitted they hadn’t made clear and they could have titled it better. Someone from the VoteLeave campaigns team would have got hold of the figure and put it on. So it turns out that rebates and such are applied and it’s not the best figure to use. For crying out loud, are you people really so paranoid you believe it was a ‘clever trick’ and that without it the election would have been very different? Every single week a politician gets some stat wrong, and campaigns have done this for years. I agree, it’s crazy the attention a figure on the side of a bus has got. The country had a referendum. Leave won. Get on with it.

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Different Anonymous

Not so sure about clever like..

“I did not do so based on one message on a bus, no matter how desperately the Remainers wish that to be the case for all of those who voted as I did”
Well no of course not, you voted Leave cos you are clearly something of a moron without the capacity to look at the bigger picture effects… N’est pas ?

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Andy Pye

You haven’t got any money to spend on the NHS or anything else as a result of Brexit – not £350m, not £276m, not £161m. Because this “calculation” also conveniently forgets that in return for our membership fee we get annual trade benefits worth £100 BILLION per year, which is what we will lose if we leave. And the reason why ultimately we won’t. Why didn’t you research that before slapping your cross in the wrong box?

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Anonymous

I love all the bending over backwards and twisting this way and that to try and justify your terrible decision that you KNOW is not going to bring anything positive to the country except a whole load of brain-deads being able to claim victory for the first time in their lives. Give it up.

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Anonymous

I was (and am) a Remainer. I voted to stay.

But the sort of sweeping statement that there’s nothing good without the EU doesn’t help. Many of us wanted to stay in so that we could continue to press for change. The EU has many faults.

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Anonymous

Yeah, I voted Remain and am no fan of many aspects of the EU. That the EU is flawed doesn’t change the fact that at this stage it is very, very hard to see how anything positive can possibly come of the decision to leave it.

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Anonymous

So first Remainers claim Leavers didn’t know what we voted for, and now you claim we chose to vote for something that we believe will bring our country down, just for the sheer hell of winning a vote in otherwise empty and failure-filled lives. Wow, some of you Remainers really are unhinged, aren’t you?

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Anon

The dodgy £350M figure, NHS referencing and the ‘millions of Turks are coming’ billboards were shameless deceptions. ‘Absolutely nobody is talking about threatening our place in the Single Market’ was a lie, as was: ‘There is no downside to Brexit’. Lost sovereignty was a mirage, as was ‘taking back control’. We waived the EU 3 month immigration rule by choice and, in trade, an isolated UK with massive debts and a joke currency will quickly lose all control in deals with trading giants like the US and China. Far from helping the NHS, Brexit will guarantee its creeping commercialisation by US corporations.

Many quiltings blithely suggest now they knew the Leave campaigners lied, but if so what was their motivation in voting Leave? The logic would be to mistrust the liars and vote the other way to obtain the certainty of ‘reversed lies’. It is high time the Brexiters grew up and took ownership of the racial hate and financial havoc they have created in a once stable and internationally respected country. Our younger generations have done nothing to deserve such a lousy future in Little Britain – they are owed a grovelling apology for this stupid mess.

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Anon

From the NPCC: “Between June 16th and June 30th 2016, 3,192 hate crimes were reported to police forces across England, Wales and Northern Ireland … an increase of 915 or 42% over the same period the year before. On the worst day … [the day after referendum result] 289 offenses took place … the most common form … was violence against the person … primarily harassment, common assault and other violence (verbal abuse, spitting and “barging”).‟

Do you see no correlation between the Leave campaign – ‘millions of Turks are coming here ‘ – that ‘immigrant hordes’ refugee poster, the Brexit choice and an ensuing increase in racial hate incidents? The exodus of EU workers from the NHS, sciences, agriculture, care and hospitality sectors – the 96% reduction in EU nursing recruitment – cannot be explained by our weaker currency. The repellant is The Great British Brexit Unwelcome, amplified by an irresponsible government and egged on by the gutter press.

The ‘financial havoc’ – if not already evident to you in the plummeting pound, the record personal debt with gathering inflation and imminent interest hikes, the wage stagnation worse than Greece and the collapse of UK investment – is predicted to get worse by most of 122 economists: https://www.ft.com/content/c2b0359e-d0dc-11e6b06b680c49b4b4c0

Of course, these are only experts so they are probably mistaken. You will have to check the reality with Michael Gove, who knows absolutely everything and is never wrong.

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Anonymous

Look at the figures properly. You’ve been misleadingly selective. The undoubted rise in hate crimes immediately after the referendum was appalling and shameful; but levels were soon back to where they were before the vote and have stayed there (other than for short-lived rises after two of the recent terror attacks).

As for the economic consequences of Brexit, there are any number of indices you could pick to show a different conclusion. Just as one example, there has been an outflow in indirect investment (like sovereign wealth funds) but a strong increase in direct investment (see OECD figures). And using the (Euro-zone) Greek economy as a comparison…

I opposed Brexit. I bitterly regret that we are isolating ourselves. In the long-term we’ll be poorer financially, socially and culturally. In the long-term.

But I am sick of absurd claims both ways. We *can* mitigate the damage of Brexit. It will be harder, though, if people rant and rave and tell porkies.

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Sir Geffroy De Joinville

O Trumpenkriegfindergeneral, before you I kneel, pay homage and give my oath of fealty as your liege man, to bring before you this outlaw and scoundrel Trumpenkrieg and his lady Notamused

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Learned Hand

Fascinating to see so many young lawyers in training believing that because a government minister said something would happen, there is nothing to doubt. Our profession is in big trouble if its next generation believes whatever the government says or is not troubled when “facts” turn out to be lies.

PS anyone thinking £350m per week is genuine should see Indy headline story that blew cover off it.

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Anonymous

A lot of people DID believe it. A lot of people read the tripe in The Mail, The Sun, The Express and don’t believe in the adage that you should read the paper that is contrary to your opinion. A lot of people believe that BloJob is a harmless, hiiilarious, loveable yet trustworthy buffoon and an intelligent man whose integrity is absolute.
A lot of people are unfortunately a bit ‘king thick and refuse to change that fact even if they have the potential to do so.

And so we have the pulsating CF that is the UK at this current juncture in time…

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Anonymous

How did they miss all the opposing arguments online and on the (impartial and accurate by law) TV and radio?

If lies were all they wanted to read, what can you do? I mean apart from state control of all media, like in Saudi Arabia and North Korea. I can’t imagine you were thinking of that sort of solution though, were you?

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Anonymous

What can you do ?

How about not hold a fking referendum based on a binary yes-no choice in the first place ? Especially given the obviously widespread and deep-seated ignorance that is out there…

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Anonymous

Why even hold a election then? Or ever give any power, however dispersed, to those thick fucks, members of the public.

I think you genuinely do want to live under the British equivalent of a Saudi prince or Kim Jong Un. Bizarre.

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