Great Repeal Bill – Just A-Wrote Me A Letter

One of the most controversial aspects of the Bill is the disapplication of the Charter of Fundamental Rights.

Clause 5(4) of the Bill states 'the Charter of Fundamental Rights is not part of domestic law on or after exit day'. Explaining clause 5(4) on the first day of the Bill's Second Reading, the SSExEU said:

'[We] do not believe that it would make sense to retain the charter of fundamental rights. The charter applies only to member states when acting within the scope of EU law. We will not be a member state, nor will we be acting within the scope of EU law, once we leave the European Union ... [T]he charter catalogues the rights found under EU law that will be brought into UK law by the Bill. It is not, and never was, the source of those rights. Those rights have their origins elsewhere in domestic law or relate to international treaties or obligations that the UK remains party to – for example, the European convention on human rights ... Let me be clear: the absence of the charter will not affect the substantive rights available in the UK.' Dominic Grieve MP responded:

'I understand my right hon. Friend's point about the charter, because I agree with him that general principles and the charter should be identical – although that does raise the question of why, in those circumstances, the charter should go – but schedule 1 says quite clearly that after we have done this: "There is no right of action in domestic law on or after exit day based on a failure to comply with any of the general principles of EU law." He must agree that that means that the right of the individual to challenge on the basis of the principle of EU law – the law that will be imported into our law by the Bill – will no longer be possible. That is in our own courts – forget about the European Court of Justice. That seems to me a marked diminution in the rights of the individual and of corporate entities.'

The SSExEU responded:

'I am afraid that my old and dear right hon. and learned Friend and I are going to have a difference of opinion. We will put in the Library a letter on this specific issue ... But the simple truth is that these rights ... have a whole series of origins. Some are from British common law, some are from EU law that we will bring in ourselves, and some are from the European convention on human rights ... Why on earth we need an extra layer of declaratory law I do not know.' The SSExEU's promised letter is here, and it makes for interesting reading.


To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT