Shaking off Constitutional Constraints

von Maximilian Steinbeis

Dear Friends of Verfassungsblog,

all eyes have been on the UK Supreme Court this week as the "case of the century" in British constitutional law about Parliament’s right to have a say in exiting the European Union came to an end. While most commentators praised the result as a powerful reinforcement of Parliamentary sovereignty, MARK DAWSON begged to differ: "Something of a damp squib" was how the Berlin-based EU lawyer of Scottish descent described his impression of the judgment. The right of Parliament to be consulted had already been conceded by Government anyway. What made the case exciting was the opportunity to insert some additional legal constraints into the British constitution – constraints direly needed as the Tory majority appears determined to shake off as much of its European and international legal ties as it can get away with. Instead, the Court refused to help the devolved Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish assemblies make their voices heard.

Dawson’s provocative argument is likely to meet with objection, and GAVIN PHILLIPSON has already announced to write a rebuttal on these pages. TOBIAS LOCK points to a possible silver lining of the Miller judgment for the Scottish-led cause of Bremain: Politically, Scottish nationalists will now be able to raise their voice with increased passion as, legally, the Court has declared the rules of competence distribution between Westminster and the devolved parliaments unjusticeable. For German readers, ROMAN KAISER gives an overview of what the ruling is about and what it implies. THOMAS VOLAND takes a detailed look at the various possibilities of shaping the future trade relations between the EU and post-Brexit UK ...

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