A week in which Cameron announced his impending resignation, Labour MPs had no confidence in Corbyn and, as cats the world over rejoiced, Theresa May said she would not seek to take the UK out of the ECHR – but there was also quite a bit of proper law to get our heads round…
Brexit: the aftermath
Since the outcome of the EU Referendum became known, everyone appears to have become an expert on constitutional law. Neither of us is a constitutional or EU law specialist and we have largely avoided commenting on the run-up to the EU Referendum, not least because we had no particular locus for doing so. However, now that the votes have been counted and the Captains and the Kings are at least preparing to depart, (with one notable exception), we thought it might be helpful to readers of this blog, large numbers of whom are not lawyers, if we posted occasional round-ups of the latest comment pieces from the blogosphere and links to the relevant legislation.
On Monday we published Brexit Basics and by Saturday there was sufficient new material to post the first of our updates covering the on-going legal considerations over the issue of Article 50 TEU notifications and the events in the European Council and Parliament. Civil Litigation Brief is doing something similar, see Brexit: The Legal Consequences: useful links. This is across a much wider canvas and is primarily aimed at lawyers with sections on specific areas of law, although environmental law is at present not included. Continue reading →
Article 50 of the Treaty on the European Union reads as follows:
Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements.
A Member State which decides to withdraw shall notify the European Council of its intention. In the light of the guidelines provided by the European Council, the Union shall negotiate and conclude an agreement with that State, setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal, taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union. That agreement shall be negotiated in accordance with Article 218(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. It shall be concluded on behalf of the Union by the Council, acting by a qualified majority, after obtaining the consent of the European Parliament.
The Treaties shall cease to apply to the State in question from the date of entry into force of the withdrawal agreement or, failing that, two years after the notification referred to in paragraph 2, unless the European Council, in agreement with the Member State concerned, unanimously decides to extend this period.
For the purposes of paragraphs 2 and 3, the member of the European Council or of the Council representing the withdrawing Member State shall not participate in the discussions of the European Council or Council or in decisions concerning it. A qualified majority shall be defined in accordance with Article 238(3)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
If a State which has withdrawn from the Union asks to rejoin, its request shall be subject to the procedure referred to in Article 49.”
If a withdrawal agreement can be reached, it must be approved by the European Parliament and then by the Council, by Qualified Majority Voting. Continue reading →
Legal issues surrounding temporary and permanent storage of “ashes”
In our post “Is it time to exhume the relatives?” we considered the situation in Greece, where the overcrowding in cemeteries is such that bodies are often only kept in the ground for three years. We asked whether this was a foretaste of future problems in the UK should the issues of shortage of burial space not be resolved, and observed that time-limited burial is not restricted to the interment of human bodies. Some domestic crematoria impose similar, but more medium-term, conditions on the temporary storage of “ashes”. This was considered in Re Astwood Cemetery  Worcester Const Ct, Charles Mynors Ch.; in addition, the “lift and deepen” strategy for maximizing the use of existing burial capacity is also dependent upon establishing a time limit after which this practice is applied, although this is generally in the longer term.
An update on the action against one of the doctors in the Telegraph ‘sting’, and the report from the Department of Health
The Telegraph ‘sting’
On 3 November, the Daily Mail reportedthat “a doctor who allegedly agreed to abort a foetus simply because it was a girl – and then lied about the reason he terminated it – has been suspended for only three months by a medical tribunal”. Earlier posts have followed developments in this case, most recently in March, when the Crown Prosecution halted a private prosecution that had been initiated against the two doctors involved in the Daily Telegraph “sting”. In these two cases, each defendant asked the CPS to intervene and stop the prosecutions under section 6(2) of the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985, following which the CPS was required to consider them according to the test set out in the Code for Crown Prosecutors; if, as was the case, the test was not met, the CPS had no choice but to stop the case. Continue reading →