Charter of Fundamental Rights – Government Report

Part of European Union (Withdrawal) Bill – in the House of Commons at 1:45 pm on 21st November 2017.

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Photo of Dominic Grieve Dominic Grieve Conservative, Beaconsfield 1:45 pm, 21st November 2017

My right hon. Friend almost makes my case for me. He is absolutely right that, in so far as we want to depart from anything, this House, once we have left the EU, can do what it likes, and as regards anything we enact thereafter, the supremacy of EU law is entirely removed. We can do exactly what we please, except, I am afraid, in so far as we may find ourselves still locked into trying to maintain comity with the EU when the penny drops about the economic consequences of not having it. However, I will refrain from straying too far into that area.

So the question is: is there some merit in keeping the right to bring a challenge using general principles of EU law? I would have thought that there is. I tried to work through in my mind the importance of this. First, we may have retained EU law that is deficient, defective or does not operate properly, or a court might be forced to conclude that it operates in a capricious or even unfair manner, or is disproportionate. At the moment, the only remedy for the court, unless it can bring in the Human Rights Act, will be to apply the law and somebody points out to a Minister that that law is working very badly.