The events of early January have had a profound impact on Britain and much of Europe, making 2018 the most trying of the past decade and a half for the common people. Rising opposition to the policies of European Union (EU) has brought about deep divisions, undermining democratic institutions, and creating profound uncertainty. The legal profession has been at the front line of the conflict between the EU and the United Kingdom. The record of the relationship between the law firms and the government in recent years has been questionable, to say the least. Indeed, the Government of the United Kingdom proposed legislation specifically designed to cut costs and bureaucracy in the law firm sector, including a measure that would abolish the prevailing cap on fixed-term contracts. The hard-Brexit legal industry tried hard to convince the Government to scrap these proposals. But it looks increasingly likely that they will proceed.
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has been in London, giving advice and issuing opinions for UK Supreme Court judges on British law. With almost as many judges as courts on Earth and hundreds of lawyers following their decisions, the decisions handed down by the ECJ have an influence throughout the EU. For all the opposition to British membership of the European Union, the European Court of Justice is a powerful counterbalance that the British people and their government should be afraid of.
The European Parliament has a large number of lawyers. Two thousand work in Strasbourg. Almost all legal proceedings are subject to a European hearing. In recent years the lawyers of the UK have tried to challenge the ECJ to try to limit its influence in British law. But rather than limiting its powers, it has the opposite effect.
The United Kingdom is currently finalizing its withdrawal from the European Union. Britain is leaving the EU and will cease to be a member, but it is not leaving the European Union. Britain is trying to leverage the High Court’s judgment against the EU.
Article 50 of the European Union’s Treaty of Rome is the text that says the United Kingdom is leaving the European Union. In her judgment, the Supreme Court judge delivered a thorough and authoritative but clear and authoritative legal opinion that described the process. She also explained what was really going on: the divorce was being negotiated between the United Kingdom and the European Union. The British Government was negotiating in good faith with the European Union. If they could not be persuaded by the European Union to change their minds on the withdrawal terms, they should be prepared to walk away from the table. The UK Government had four aims in negotiations with the European Union: to maintain the harmonious and friendly co-existence of the European Union with the United Kingdom; to protect the integrity of the Single Market and the Customs Union; to ensure that the United Kingdom does not suffer as a result of the EU’s Brexit negotiation; and to achieve the best possible terms for the United Kingdom and its citizens when they leave the European Union.
The Court in London did not see these four aims as incompatible. The United Kingdom was not in breach of any of the obligations it had undertaken while it was a member of the European Union. However, because of a lack of clarity about the intended legal relationship between the European Union and the United Kingdom after Brexit, the Court was minded to review the judgment of the United Kingdom Supreme Court as to the consequences of Brexit. Brexit did not impact the rule of law in Britain, as the Court’s decision only applied to the specific questions addressed in the case, but the Court reserved the right to consider the remaining questions in light of what had been said in the case.
The Court agreed that there were limitations on the independence of the judiciary, but found that this was sufficient for it to rely on a declaration that there was no breach of the rule of law. Since Brexit was not a matter under judicial control, the Court did not allow the revocation of Article 50 to be an issue in law.
On December 19, 2017, the British Government submitted the formal notification of Article 50 to the European Union. Once the notification is received, the formal process of withdrawal from the European Union will begin. On January 8, 2018, the European Parliament is due to hold a debate about the timing of withdrawal. The following day, the European Council is expected to set out the procedure for Brexit. On March 29, 2019, Great Britain will leave the European Union.
With Britain’s departure from the European Union expected before the end of 2018, both sides are now interested in discussing a declaration on how the United Kingdom will leave the European Union. British Prime Minister Theresa May intends to give a speech on Brexit in the Netherlands in February. The Belgian Government issued a statement saying it planned to issue a statement on Brexit in the first quarter of the year. EU leaders are also expected to discuss the subject during their