Brick Court Chambers

Brexit Law Blog: Archive

This blog tracked legal issues arising from Brexit. It ran from the referendum in 2016 to the last post in May of 2021.

House of Lords Constitution Committee Report on the EU (Withdrawal) Bill

Posted on 29 Jan 2018 by Brick Court

The House of Lords Constitution Committee has today published its long-awaited report on the EU Withdrawal Bill which it described as ‘constitutionally unacceptable’.  The Bill is fundamentally flawed and needs to be rewritten in several ways, peers have said, as the House of Lords prepares to debate the legislation this week.

The committee said that the bill as it currently stands risked “undermining legal certainty” and should be substantially changed, even though it has already been voted through the House of Commons.

Richard Gordon QC gave oral evidence to the committee alongside Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury. The report can be accessed here.

David Vaughan CBE QC

Posted on 18 Jan 2018 by Brick Court

David Anderson QC

All concerned with European Law will wish to join Brick Court Chambers in our sadness at the death on Monday, aged 79, of David Vaughan CBE QC.

David practised at Brick Court throughout his life at the Bar. He transformed its fortunes, first by attracting to it such stars as Robert Alexander (later Lord Alexander) and Nicholas Phillips (later Lord Phillips, President of the Supreme Court), and then by building it into a major centre of excellence in European Law. As Maya Lester has noted on her EU Sanctions blog, he encouraged everyone from the most junior to the most senior with his kind, visionary and energetic style.

But David’s influence went far beyond the Chambers where he was so well loved. He was the editor of comprehensive works on EU law, a Visiting Professor at Durham, and a guiding force behind some fine institutions: a pioneering law practice in Brussels, the Bar European Group, the European Circuit and – in later years – the Slynn Foundation for European Law. Through his infectious excitement, he tempted many young practitioners, at home and in the accession states, from more sober and parochial pursuits into the great legal adventure that was Europe.

Of his more than 100 cases before the European Court of Justice, few were routine. Constitutional history was made in the Factortame litigation of 1988-2000, with the suspension and then disapplication of an Act of Parliament, followed by damages for those whose livelihoods it had destroyed. In the words of John Couceiro, one of David’s Spanish Fishermen, “he led us on a great journey, which I would not have missed for the world”. The Sunday Trading cases caused the ECJ to rethink its case-law on free movement of goods, and Courage v Crehan forged the principles still applied to competition damages. David fought with particular tenacity for procedural fairness, whether in the long run of cartel cases he conducted for ICI or in the sanctions context, where People’s Mojehadin of Iran paved the way for Kadi.

David rarely failed to win, and never failed to entertain. He took on the established order with relish, daring and humour. He saw the best in everyone, and helped others to see it too. Having done so much to humanise European law and make it palatable to the British, his death at this time is especially poignant. We will not see his like again.

European Union (Withdrawal) Bill: Disapplication of Primary Legislation

Posted on 12 Jan 2018 by Brick Court

The Prime Minister has replied to Sir William Cash MP, Chairman of the European Scrutiny Committee, over the committee’s concerns about the provisions of the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill giving the UK courts a power to disapply pre-exit UK primary legislation (see post on 22 December 2017). The full text of her letter is here.

Keeping up with Brexit—preparations will intensify in 2018

Posted on 11 Jan 2018 by Brick Court

Professor Derrick Wyatt QC offers analysis of the UK’s Brexit preparation and challenges ahead for the UK Parliament, central government, devolved administrations and businesses, as negotiations on the Withdrawal Agreement gather pace and negotiations on transitional arrangements and the framework of a future UK-EU trade relationship move up the agenda in 2018.

This article, first published on Lexis®PSL Public Law on 8 January 2018, is available here.