Charter of Fundamental Rights – Government Report

Part of European Union (Withdrawal) Bill – in the House of Commons at 3:30 pm on 21st November 2017.

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Photo of Joanna Cherry Joanna Cherry Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Justice and Home Affairs), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Justice), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Home Affairs) 3:30 pm, 21st November 2017

The hon. and learned Gentleman is no doubt commenting on the English jurisdiction, and I cannot comment on that because I have not appeared here, except in the UK Supreme Court. But certainly in Scotland it is sometimes referred to, and sometimes it is relevant and sometimes it is not, but that applies to all references made in cases. However, to counter his point, there are hard examples of where the charter has made a huge difference. The right hon. and learned Member for Beaconsfield referred earlier to the Benkharbouche case, which concerned the rights of an employee in an embassy in London, and another against the embassy of the Republic of Sudan. The individual complained of unlawful discrimination and a breach of working time regulations, and she would have been denied a remedy had it not been for the charter.

One may forget Dr O’Brien’s evidence about the number of references if one wants to, but look at the hard examples of where the charter has made a difference. We have also heard about the tobacco packaging legislation. There are many examples relating to data protection, perhaps the most celebrated one being the litigation of the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union.