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UK Brexit bill ‘extraordinary and worrying’
Boris Johnson

09 Oct 2020 / brexit Print

UK Brexit bill ‘extraordinary and worrying’

The former president of the UK’s Supreme Court has warned that judges will end up on a collision course with the country’s government if the House of Commons does not defeat controversial clauses contained in Brexit legislation.

According to the Law Gazette of England and Wales, Lord Neuberger told a meeting organised by the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) earlier this week that the United Kingdom Internal Market Bill was “quite extraordinary and very worrying”.


As well as allowing the UK government to breach its obligations under international law, ministers would have the right to make regulations which the courts would not be entitled to review, he said.

Neuberger said the UK had “a remarkable unbroken history” of 350 years of observing the rule of law and had an enviable reputation for that.

“One of the most important aspects of any democratic society is the right of individuals to go to court to challenge the government when the government has done something wrong, when it has breached the rights of individuals,” he said. “Once you deprive individuals of the right to go to court to challenge the government, you’re in a dictatorship, you’re in a tyranny.”

Asked what would happen if the bill got through parliament, Neuberger said lawyers and others would go to court.

“One of the most regrettable aspects of this from the point of view of the judiciary is it will put the judges in a position where it is on a collision course with other parts of the government or it will be seen as craven… It is an unenviable position to put the judiciary in,” he added.


Former attorney general Dominic Grieve said the role of a government’s law officers was to “facilitate the government getting what it needs in a lawful manner”.

He said: “All this mumbo jumbo that parliament is not bound by international law – no it’s not, but the executive is, and the executive introduced this piece of legislation into parliament.”

Grieve agreed with a suggestion that the lord chancellor and attorney general should have resigned over the bill.

Gazette Desk
Gazette.ie is the daily legal news site of the Law Society of Ireland