Will there be life after Brexit? European law in the UK after March 2019
Articles,  Blog

Will there be life after Brexit? European law in the UK after March 2019

I was asked, when I told my friends in London
at a conference I was at yesterday that I was coming to Birmingham, I was asked ‘are
you going to be speaking to the Conservative Party conference?’ and I said ‘no, I don’t
think so. I’m going to be speaking to a much more open and lively and vigorous audience
and one that is less sceptical about certain things’. So I’m going to do three things now. One
is remind us where we are and how we got here. I understand that for most of you this is
your first lecture in European Law so I offer you my profound sympathies and regrets, but
I’ll try to make it as painless as possible. Secondly to list a number of things which
are necessary to be settled before we can do Brexit safely, if we do it. And contrary
to Professor Trebus I’m not yet absolutely convinced. And third, I want to make a plea
about how we should have the discussion. So our continent at this moment is going through
a period of extraordinary turbulence. You know very well that the pressure of migration
from the East, the pressure of migration from North Africa, the Trump presidency, the emergence
of so-called nativist populist parties in different countries, present Europe with an
extraordinary set of exceptional challenges. So Brexit for the UK is the biggest of those
challenges and Brexit presents for the British government and British citizens and British
residents, the biggest challenge I guess since the end of the Second World War, to how we’ll
govern the elemental, fundamental questions of how this country shall be governed. Now
Brexit, if it occurs, will represent what an English judge has called a ‘seismic shock,
a truly revolutionary change’. Now at times in revolutions, though not so much in the
UK – in France, in Germany and in other places – revolutions are associated with
bloodshed. Let me just give you a wee bit of reassurance. We go back to 1560, before
you were born, and in 1560 there occurred in Scotland the Reformation and that was a
religious movement but also a political one and by an Act of 1560, the jurisdiction of
the Pope was rejected and the Saying of the Mass was prohibited. But, Canon Law was retained.
Canon Law was drafted in Rome and that dealt with divorce, wills, relations between parents
and children, relations between husband and wives, and as it was stated, ‘this pontifical
Law extended to all persons and things relating to the Roman Church and so deep has this Canon
Law been rooted, that even where the Pope’s authority is rejected, yet consideration must
be given to these Laws’. In other words, the Laws made sense and they were familiar
to people and so they were not discarded, even though Papal jurisdiction was discarded
and rejected. Now, life muddled through. There was a bit
of confusion but life continued and the Canon Law continued. Now if Brexit happens, it is
not the case that mobs of iconoclasts will come into the library and burn all the books
with 12 yellow stars and a blue background. It is unlikely that Professor Trebus and myself
will be carried out to the nearest lamppost. Violence is not probable but there will be
some big changes. Now I’m speaking in an academic environment, my views are my own,
I am a judge, I am not speaking for the court, I’m not speaking for the Daily Mail, I’m
sharing academic ideas to a bunch of lively and enquiring minds. That having been said,
let me emphasise that it’s not for judges to make political decisions. We’re not paid
to decide whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing to a do a Brexit. Most young people
will have a particular view with which perhaps I might personally sympathise, but judges
are allowed to comment on legal problems which need to be addressed and things which, questions
which require proper attention. So I’ve got these three things I want to
address. One is where we are today and why that’s relevant to Brexit. As I describe
that I think you’ll understand and let me begin with that. Since January 73 the UK has managed its domestic
government in cooperation with its European partners in an increasingly wide range of
fields. So originally there were 8 partners; today there’s 27. Originally it was mainly
to do with trade and persons. Today it’s a vast range – agriculture, animal health,
environment protection, deportation and extradition, equality of remuneration between men and women
in the workplace, zoonotic diseases, aviation, hazardous chemicals, mutual recognition of
judgements, mutual recognition of qualifications, and so on. So the list of areas where the
UK cooperates with its continental neighbours is a vast one and that vast area is consistently
underestimated by those who say ‘let’s just do Brexit. Let’s just leave’, as
if it were a tennis club and the showers were not clean enough, or the subscription was
too high. It is very, very, very much more complicated than that. Now Lord Cofield who
was the father of the 1992 programme, British Commissioner, a Thatcherite Minister and a
revolutionary thinker, he said that ‘sovereignty was like energy. It could change its shape
but it couldn’t be destroyed’. So he espoused the notion – and he convinced Mrs Thatcher
who was no easy cookie to convince – that Britain’s destiny in Europe lay in pooling
its sovereignty and using the ability of the Civil Service and British skill in drafting,
and common sense, to produce standards which would make sense for the European Community
and then the European Union. So, today pre-Brexit, these questions are
more and more complicated because life is more and more complicated, because the dangers
of, for example, food safety – you’ve read in the news of the poor woman who died
because of an allergen. Now, these things are extremely serious. They can be matters
of life and death. So how are these standards set? Well, let’s assume that we’re talking
about something for animal feed. There are many products which are given to animals to
keep them healthy and to ensure that the prosper and that the farmers can make money out of
selling them for consumption. A new product is discovered. Is that a good one? Is it safe?
Is it efficacious? Same for pharmaceuticals. The pharmaceutical industry is constantly
looking for new products. The European Medicine’s Agency is one of about 35 agencies which are
scattered all over the European Union and those agencies participate in the elaboration
of new standards, and so those agencies are staffed by permanent officials and by experts
from the member states. So the best veterinary medicine person or the best epidemiology person
or the best antibiotic research person from Estonia, comes to meet his or her colleagues
in London – if it’s medicines – to discuss a new candidate to be proved as the new antibiotic. Now because of geography, cooperation is essential.
That’s to say we can’t – well, it wouldn’t be convenient to have a world where one standard
applied in the UK and another standard applied in the 27. Technically feasible but not very
convenient. For example, supposing the pesticide Glyphosate which is called Roundup were deemed
to be unacceptable in the 27 but acceptable in the UK – a possible outcome if there
are two different standards. A British farmer who used that herbicide would discover that
the farmer would not be able to export her crops or meat to the 27. So there is an evident
linkage between the UK and the 27. So the agencies who elaborate new standards are in
constant flux as to the products which they approve. Now you’re saying to yourself maybe
why is this so important? It’s because daily life is governed by many, many, many standards.
When you go into the butcher’s, when you go into a supermarket, when you go into a
restaurant, when you get into a car, when you wear a judo suit for a judo competition,
you are governed, or you use, or you rely upon, the existence of standards which guarantee
– or should guarantee – the quality of the product which you purchase or use or consume.
The range of topics can be very, very large and I can offer you two or three examples.
One, is a bathroom tile made by DuPont a filled plastic or an artificial stone? For customers’
purposes it means 2.5% of customs duty difference. Is a phthalate, which is a plastic plasticiser
that softens toys to be chewed by babies, are phthalates dangerous or neutral? Should
they be prohibited? Should they be permitted? Now there are dozens and dozens and dozens
of standards, dozens of ongoing questions and controversies about these matters. Now
regulation is an ongoing process. Science and industry, we’re in the chemistry theatre,
science and industry keep discovering new things and of course they should. So what
to do about – let’s assume that Brexit occurs, contrary to my wishes, that’s an
unjudicial statement but with which I suspect a fair number of you might sympathise – Brexit
occurs. Now, how is the UK to deal with the necessity of extensive legislation and regulation
while respecting the concerns of those who feel Brussels is interfering and obtrusive?
Now, the proposal is, it is estimated – I haven’t done it but the BBC has done – that
there are 90,000 texts which constitute the corpus of European Law today and some of these
are trivial, some are important, some may have been repealed, but think of that as a
mass of wires with yellow stars and a blue background. Now the UK solution to the problem
of wishing for reasons of sovereignty to leave the European Union, the British solution is
to take this bundle of wires – those are my words, my analogy – and plonk them into
a bath of Britishness which this bath has got the Union Jack on it, the British flag,
and those texts will become identically worded to the European texts but they will have been
adopted by a UK Minister, and so that may solve contribute to solving the sovereignty
problem. Now, the goal of the communings between experts
and technical agencies scattered all over Europe and member state governments and lobbyists
and scientists, the goal of these communings is to produce a Europe which is safe, which
is prosperous, which rewards innovation, and which doesn’t completely eliminate risk
but which makes sensible choices where there has to be a balance. Now, as part of the withdrawal
arrangements – as I said, the idea is that the tens of thousands of European texts be
rebranded, but not reworded, as UK texts. So the farmer, the doctor, the pharmacist,
the engineer, the owner of grassland, will be governed after Brexit as before Brexit,
by the same set of technical norms. But, technical regulation continues so the day after Brexit
a new product emerges and the new product has to be approved because we can’t imagine
that food or animal feed would be dosed with a new unknown product which has not been tested.
How shall the United Kingdom’s experts and the 27 experts cooperate? Big question. The
current version of the proposal is that there would be what’s delicately called ‘a common
rulebook’. What does a common rulebook mean? We don’t at the moment know but it probably
means that the same standards would apply on both sides of the English channel. So the UK will have three choices. One will
be set up a UK agency which will decide for the UK pharmaceutical, animal health, chemical,
environmental, standards which might be different to those of the 27, but if they’re different
to the 27, then the benefits of the European market are lost. Or, not regulate – probably
unlikely – or simply follow the standards set by the EU 27 without having a technical
or political influence on the drafting of those standards. So
I repeat, one of the great challenges which will be permanent for as long as there is
a bath of identically worded in origin legal texts governing technical regulation of our
daily life, but this one, the European one is changing because of technical progress
but this one isn’t, for so long as that phenomenon persists there will be uncertainty.
Now that presents the possibility of considerable constitutional conflict. Now, let’s pass on to the issue of judicial
review. You’re starting your careers in Law – my sympathies but it is an interesting
time – one of the topics that you will study and which is extremely interesting which I’ve
done a lot of is judicial review. Two big different principles. Your neighbour has encroached
on your land and you say that your neighbour is building a wall on part of your property.
You’re walking in the street, you’re knocked down and you say the person who knocked you
down was driving negligently. That person says that you were being careless. Now that’s
a civil law contest or disagreement between two people which goes to the civil courts.
Separately is the question of judicial review. You are in dispute with the government, you’re
in dispute with the state and judicial review is the mechanism by which the validity of
what the state has done is examined and tested before a judge. Now judges in every country,
including the United Kingdom, are usually conservative animals (with a small ‘c’)
and they are hesitant to say that the government has mis-regulated. So if it’s a matter which
is within the competence of the regulator, for example whether a disabled child is sufficiently
disabled to merit a free bus pass, very rare will it be that a judge says that the official
who made that determination got it wrong. The official had regard to all the relevant
circumstances, I’m not going to go behind that. But, there are situations and there
will be situations, where judicial review may be granted and that’s one of the big
areas when new rule-making presents doctrines established by European Law for examining
the legality of administrative action. So one of the doctrines of European Law – I
can see glazed eyes but it’s actually interesting so stay with me, stay awake, just hold on
for a second! – proportionality is the notion that the public authority should not inflict
upon the individual burdens which are disproportionate to the importance of the goal. So establishing
the death penalty for parking beyond 60 minutes would be disproportionate. It would be other
things as well but we’d all agree that it would be disproportionate. Now there’s a
number of doctrines of European Law which have been established by the European courts
and others in order to assist, in order to give standards criteria, for the determination
of challenges to European legal texts. Now, this gets tricky. Remember, the bath
of UK law but it’s all European texts originally, and here are the European texts, the original
European texts. One of these rules is challenged as being contrary to European Law. Is it acceptable
for the litigant to say that text is invalid because it infringes the principles governing
the European Law from which it was copied? And that issue is bouncing around at the moment
and it may be the case that the UK will forbid the invocation – or exclude, which is slightly
different – the invocation of EU legal principles to challenge the terms of the enforcement
of the UK-labelled legal principles in this bath. Strange? Curious? Am I being understood?
A few nods, OK, let’s deem that to be unanimous. So judges have to make sense of these controversies.
Question: what weight should be given by a British judge in a domestic court hearing
a challenge to the validity of a European rule which has been Briticised? So one possibility
is that the British judge could be expected to pursue consistency with the Acqui Communautaire,
that’s to say the corpus of European legal principle by which we have been governed for
the past 45 years. Consistency is a good thing, isn’t it, surely? No might be the answer,
consistency’s not a good thing because we’ve decided to leave the European Union and therefore
non-consistency is just as good as consistency. The British judge should make an independent
determination without having regard to consistency. What about health, customs, safety, all those
questions? Do we want different norms in the UK than apply in the European Union? Again,
what weight to give to consistency? I offer another example with a personal touch
to it. As you heard when I was a student in the United States and after that, I sat the
New York Bar exam and I passed the New York Bar exam which is a grizzly experience, but
it’s nicer to pass than to fail. After that I thought OK, it’s a downhill slope, I’m
going to be a member of the New York Bar. But, the Character Committee of the New York
Bar said Forrester is a non-resident alien and we’re not going to admit him to the
Bar’, among other reasons because ‘there’s a number of American lawyers, American citizens,
who are looking for a job in New York and if we let foreigners in, especially those
who are non-resident aliens, that’ll make life more difficult for American citizens’.
Now supposing that one of you is a national of another member state and you’re a candidate.
You say ‘I’ve studied in Spain, I’ve got equivalent qualifications, I wish to become
an architect in Scotland, so admit me’. Is the Scottish administration entitled to
say ‘well we’re going to give preference to Scots. You have a Spanish qualification
and that’s fine, but we don’t really need more architects in Scotland and if we do need
more architects in Scotland, we’re not going to give advantages to a Spanish qualified
architect’. Now those questions will pop up, will arise, and it’ll be up to the courts
to decide what shall be the criteria for determining those controversies and that will be a big
and sensitive area of judicial policy. And there, I hope very much, that her Majesty’s
government will give to judges the guidance which is appropriate, saying do or don’t
accord importance to consistency with EU 27, because it would be, I suggest, unfair to
British judges to blame them for pursuing a judicial policy, a judicial practice, which
endorses the principle of consistency through the European Union, or rejects the idea of
consistency throughout the European Union. These are political matters as to which judges
deserve some guidance. So, this is the end of the first point I want
to make and here are a few conclusions. First, for as long as the provisions of European
Law are to be applied in the UK, for so long will it be necessary, essential, to give proper
thought to how contentious issues will be litigated. Second, it’s not by nationalising
EU regulations and rebranding them as British that problems of interpretation will be solved.
The current criteria for determining those controversies are terribly complicated and
I hope that they will be improved. And finally, I was accused after a report of a talk that
I gave in the Press of being a ‘pompous traitor’ and I said ‘I know about the
pompous but the traitor’s a bit surprising!’. So we shouldn’t accuse judges whose decisions
aren’t pro or anti EU, or pro or anti UK, or pro or anti UKIP, or pro or anti Labour.
We shouldn’t accuse judges who have the job of making sense of texts, of having a
lack of patriotism if they do their best to make sense of an extremely entangled situation. OK, now, my next topic is what needs to be
taken account of before a Brexit can safely occur, and I could go on for two or three
hours but let me just cut it to the bone and do it in two and a half hours! The first one
is crime, policing and security. I give you a recent example not this year, last. A murder
is committed in Glasgow, a young woman is attacked in a park in Glasgow and horribly
assaulted and murdered. The police come, they discover the body, they make enquiries and
the suspect is rapidly identified. The suspect has skipped town and has gone, as it happens,
to Slovakia of which he is a national. Slovakia does not deport normally its own citizens,
it does not extradite its own citizens, but because of the European Arrest Warrant, the
suspect was within a day or two on the request of the Scottish police and the Lord Advocate,
the Head of the Prosecution Service in Scotland, the person was arrested and he was sent back
to Scotland where he stood trial, was convicted and sentenced to prison. That was done on
the basis of cooperation between police and that’s under a framework at the top of which
is European Union Law. You can’t do extradition on the basis of a back of an envelope. You
can’t do extradition on the basis that ‘I know that policeman, he’s a good guy, this
person looks like a rogue, let’s ship him off’. That is no acceptable basis in a society
of Law for extradition, for arrest. Now, that’s one judicial example. Another
one, constantly the UK police use a database to check on criminality and the identity of
individuals. So a Latvian suspected burglar is arrested and there’s something like a
million hits a year. It’s an enormous number of occasions on which the British police – and
other police forces – exchange information on criminal enforcement matters. Air transport, flights between the UK and
the United States, used to be governed by bilateral deals so that British Airways, an
example, could fly to Washington in exchange for United being able to fly from Los Angeles
to Glasgow, say. That would be a bit of a stretch but you see the idea. It used to be
bilateral cooperation between countries. Now aviation is governed by European block, the
28 countries have done a deal with, for example, the United States. It’s not only with respect
to routes but it’s also with respect to the qualifications of pilots. So it’s not
that there is no solution. There can be, there would be solutions, but the matter needs to
be addressed. You can hear from my accent as I move to another
subject that I come from Scotland and the third most important economic activity in
Scotland is the production of Scotch whisky. Now the UK with respect to denominations of
origin for food and drink used the doctrine of ‘passing off’; that’s to say the
maker of an Arbroath, the producer of an Arbroath smokie or a Loch Fyne kipper, or Scotch whisky,
could say to a rival in Newcastle ‘you’re selling your fish or your whisky, pretending
that it is authentic Scotch whisky, pretending that it’s authentic Arbroath smokies, and
that’s not true’. Now that was the UK method. The continental method is much more
rigorous and it is based on appellations of origin – appellations of quality – so that
means that Brie, Camembert, Chianti, Grappa, are all defined – Parma Ham, it has to be
prepared in a certain way and it has to be sliced in Parma. Feta cheese. Now, that approach
contradicts the American approach which used to be Wisconsin Cheddar or California Chablis,
and Champagne. There is a drink which used to be called Babycham – I don’t know if
it’s still available in the bar but I suspect not – and it was suppressed because Babycham
implies that it’s connected with Champagne. Now the importance for the Scotch Whisky industry
and other producers of food and drinks cannot be overstated and it’s highly desirable
that Brexit not happen until a regime is in place whereby those producers are for the
future adequately protected. Then customs. You’ve heard probably on the
news ‘let’s adopt WTO rules’. Now the WTO, formerly the GATT, has the regime that
a country which signs – or a group of countries – which signs the GATT, or the WTO, the
World Trade Organisation, makes a promise, ‘my country will levy 5% on tennis balls
from anywhere in the wall’ from a GATT signatory, from a WTO signatory, and in exchange New
Zealand, say, says ‘my country in exchange for that promise, my country will levy 2%
on golf balls and 1% on butter’. So each country or group of countries that is party
to the WTO commits itself multilaterally to treat everyone the same – no distinction
between countries who are exporting to your territory – in exchange for promising what
that country will do going forward. Now WTO rules don’t eliminate customs formalities
between countries, so just to be clear, if we’re talking of zero tariffs for the UK
and respect for WTO rules, that would mean that the UK charges no tariffs on imports,
which it’s free to do, but when it exports or UK exporters ship to France, they would
be subject to the Common Customs Tariff which is somewhere between 5 and 10% and is consistently
applied by the 27 member states. Then persons. There are something like 4 million
people, including two of my sons, who are dependent on – and each of you who’s a
citizen of the UK – you have grown up in a world where it is as normal to go and move
to Thessaloniki or to Salzburg or to Berlin, as it is to go to Inverness or Exeter. Now
the rules concerning the rights of Brits abroad and the rights of EU 27 in the UK are extremely
complicated and extremely sensitive. I have lived as an alien in a foreign country and
dealing with public authority, having the right to reside, is very different to having
the right to ask to reside. These are real burdens and they are worse for the poor, the
least educated and the most disadvantaged in society. Now this is not the place to describe
in great detail the problems being debated and those problems have perhaps become worse
because of the Windrush dramas and scandals, but they should not be underestimated. Next example, driving licence. Next example,
equivalence of qualifications. You’re all students, you’re all brilliant, you all
want to do well, you all want to get a degree, and you all want freedom of movement. Now
what recognition will be given to your Law degree when you leave this university and
will that entitle you to practice your profession in other countries? We don’t know. At the
moment someone who is admitted to the Bar in England is entitled to present themselves
to earn their living as an English Barrister in Brussels, or in any other member state,
and there are thousands and thousands of young lawyers, and older lawyers, who have relied
on that practice, that phenomenon, that legal entitlement, to pursue their careers, including
myself. So I have listed very high level, very rapidly,
a dozen examples. Maybe not, maybe it’s only eight, but a bunch of examples where
my contention is that it’s dangerous for Brexit – or undesirable for Brexit – to
go ahead without those things being properly thought through. Or if Brexit politically
goes ahead, we need a transitional period during which these matters can be properly
and seriously addressed. My last point – and I can see a sigh of relief
going up, I will stop – my last point is a plea for moderation. Nationality is not
a reliable basis for determining ethnicity or affiliation. The drivers of human movement,
the refugees from the Ukraine, the refugees from North Africa, the dramas that have afflicted
Europe over centuries, don’t correspond to the political frontiers of countries today.
If you look at maps of Europe going back to 1648 and the Treaty of Westphalia, you will
see that Poland gets bigger, shrinks, shrinks, disappears, and then is re-established. You’ll
see that Serbia disappears and is re-established. You’ll see that Finland, Sweden, Norway,
their frontiers move in function of political pressures. So it is not the case that nationality,
loyalty, ethnicity, patriotism, match political frontiers. Nelson’s ships at Trafalgar – sorry
if there’s any French people here – had 28 nationalities aboard. Now the European Union has a number of real
achievements which I think can’t sensibly be denied. One is the elimination of military
rivalry in Western Europe; another is the bringing down – or contributing to the bringing
down – of the Berlin Wall and the liberation as they see it of hundreds of millions of
people in Eastern Europe from Soviet Rule. Now, those achievements are enormous and Europe
today I think is unique in the world in that almost a continent of states have agreed with
each other that they will treat men and women in the workplace equally, that they will give
opportunity of access to healthcare, that they will give equal pensions to men and women,
that they will accord decent conditions of employment, consistent protection of the enfironment,
and in other ways good reasonable consensually agreed standards for how we live our daily
lives, and that there will also be a respect for democratic values. And they have agreed
with respect not just to their own citizens but to the citizens of all the other member
states. That is a unique European achievement. Now there’s, I suggest, a great burden upon
the negotiators to deliver a result that respects Europe’s values. The UK Civil Service, the
staff of the European Commission, are extremely talented, exceptionally gifted, but their
tasks are enormous and I suggest that there’s a duty upon commentators, bloggers, teachers,
students, anyone who is articulate, to avoid the temptation to mock, to exaggerate or to
condemn on the basis of opinions which are not shared. The seriousness of the challenge
is such that it deserves better. It’s unhelpful to say ‘Just Leave’, as if Brexit was
like leaving the Tennis Club. The question is far, far more delicate and so given these
difficult circumstances, winning should not be the goal. We should have learned from now
that History teaches us that bad treaties and unrealistic treaties may not survive conflict
and may not survive, I should say, crisis. So my last remark to you is let us calm down,
let us breathe deeply, let us reproach zealots and let us pursue and encourage sensible discourse
with respect to Brexit. Thank you for your attention.


  • Austen J

    As Ian states around 6-7 minutes in – originally, the original union dealt with trade and persons. Now, the level of "cooperation" with our EU partners is "vast" and "underestimated". Thank goodness the UK woke up in time and voted to Leave before the final nails in the coffin were set fast! I am proud of the UK's decision to set an example to the world that nation state democracy is still the best example for the most important freedom – the freedom to vote for your political representatives.

  • Joe Wood

    Judges are not paid to make political decisions, well your friends made a political decision when you gave the people who voted to stay in the EU the right to stay in charge and take us out of the EU. if that wasn't a political decision made by judges then please explain to me what was that, that decision made by the judges was a political decision in favour of the elite the rich which you judges are a member of, because you're certainly not working class are you. brainwashing the young people again I see with your false lies and complicated words.

    you have it right there things changed since the end of the Second World War for that's when the dictators took over governing the country and selling us out.

    I personally do not see how violence can be avoided, when you have the people who lost the referendum still in charge and telling the people who won the referendum what they can and cannot have. if that is not going to lead to civil unrest or maybe a rebellion then I don't know what well.

    What ever happens everybody must remember it is the people who voted to stay in the EU who lost the referendum will have caused it, for not obeying the voice of the people who won the referendum. because what the referendum as shown that it doesn't matter what the majority of the people want they are not going to get it unless it's the same as what the dictators want.

    You are making a mountain out of a mole hill, you're giving excuse after excuse why we can't leave the EU There's nothing stopping the UK saying Monday morning telling the EU we are leaving in five days cutting all ties with the EU by 5 o'clock Friday. that it. all I hear from you sir is excuses, we have these deals it's very hard and complicated, it all just too much let's all be good little children and do as were told. for that's all I'm hearing from you.

    let's face it judges you up hold the law the law of the people, because no law can override the voice of the people because the people are the law, if they say they want the death penalty back you don't say NO! you say YES Sir, YES madam when do you wanted it to start. that's reality democracy proper democracy not your democracy.

    For yours and your followers democracy is a twisted democracy it is a dictatorship regime that is desperately trying its best to hide behind the word democracy so it doesn't have to face what it actually is dictatorship plain and simple.

    so when the remaining group came to the courts to stay in charge, the judges should have said this. For the court to give the remaining group the right to stay in charge and take us out of the EU would be to violate democracy and to override the voice of the people we cannot do that , For to do that we will be giving you the opportunity to do everything in your power to keep us in the EU by obstructing the leaving process.

    The court cannot allow that to happen because we always must work in the best interest of the people and the people have spoken therefore we must back the voice of the people and deny you that right to take charge of leaving the EU. only the people who voted to leave the EU can take charge of leaving the EU, that would be democracy in action, and the court backing up democracy the voice of the people..

    but your friend judges didn't did they. and you're here trying to put a spanner in the works by twisting the young minds into your way of thinking, then you claim they have free thought yeah sure, the only free thought they'll have is what you print in their brainwashed brain.


    Nothing revolutionary about Brexit – just back to normal after putting up with 46 years of interference by Belgium based EU.

  • Curragh 2

    I want Brexit. Good idea wonderful, what's your plan. What do you mean what's my plan, I haven't got one, let's just get on with it, and frankly i am very dubious of any one who asks me that question.

  • KryzMasta

    While this man is very thoughtful and approaches the subject diligently and, even though he expresses a personal view, quite objectively, after 20 minutes or so he started to lose the plot of his own talk and lost the audience with it, I think. Maybe poor preparation, or simply a lack of interesting and clarifying real-world examples, but it became increasingly more difficult to be engaged by his words.

  • Sultan A

    Another informed opinion…why is the press not bringing this to public instead of regaling the likes of Farage, Rees-Mog, David Davis and Boris Johnson…people who have no clue and want to force the poisoned chalice of Brexit on the people!!

  • aporiac

    I'm sure the learned judge is very skilled at pouring over documents, hearing evidence, and adjudicating in accordance with laws which he can competently interpret. As for anything else – in particular having a practical understanding of how the world works, the man shows himself to be a fool (as is very often the case with judges). If he confined his lecture to matters that he knows about (i.e. law), and did not regale us with his opinions on politics, economics, commerce, etc., he would show himself to be less of a fool, but I suppose that he calculates he is unlikely to be found out by a audience of law students who are likely to be even more ignorant than he.

  • turquoise owl

    the quality of regulations is commensurate with the quality of democratic oversight of the regulators where in the EU, sadly, there is none to talk of


    This bloke explains carefully and in great detail all of the problems inherent in extracting ourselves from the purposefully complicated web of EU regulations but perhaps he ought to apply that planet sized brain of his to devising a solution?

  • Paul Mcgovern

    Should never have gone in in the first place, that is why we are now in a porridge.Or are we saying we are incapable of unraveling Red Tape?

  • Yorgos Roumeliotis

    The Brexiters say that the majority of the British people decided to get out of EU and the result of the vote should be respected. Fine. I wonder though how many people out of this majority knew the legal complexities of what they were voting for and the consequent negative effects on their lives! I bet none!

  • Mal Long

    Ah yes Monsanto not acceptable in the USA but is here duplicity like this is what puts lives at risk. Law is duplicity one rule for one but others seem to be excused.

  • Mal Long

    An English judge should be able to make a judgement in British law without having to take European law into consideration. We like bent cucumbers it’s surprising how many get thrown away due to European regulations for instance.

  • reconciliation86

    As a German I can only wish Britain would act as intelligent, calm and dignified as this man speaks. Thank you for offering me the chance to listen to your lecture.

  • oddball79 square

    so what you r saying is u or them are going to refuse to talk to each other ???
    only point that has any relevance is oversight of uk goverment against a uk person …… BUT WHY DONT WE GET A GROUP OF PEOPLE MEMBERS OF THE UK GENERAL PUBLIC ( A JURY OR MAYBE WE CALL IT A GRAND JURY ) & alow them to hear the case & make the decision on the case

    may be you wana be doing sum work on brexit as it appears u have left it to last second…. AND STOP MOANING ABOUT IT

  • Andreas Kreissl

    Well-communicated insight into the legal situation after Brexit! Cold-blooded and irresponsible politicians convey the picture that everything is so easy and Brexit would be an unstoppable storm, bring back sunshine sometime. This is not just a stupid, but dangerous simplification of the situation.

  • Mark Shirley

    Thank you very interesting. Question if we agree to sell butter at 0% to a WTO country then sell butter to the EU with a 5 or 6% tarrif applied by the EU are we allowed to add a 5 or 6% tarrif to imported butter from the EU.

  • John Martin

    The single most stressful transaction I have ever made was sending the transaction document agreement between all Eu Treaty members to the EU Maastricht treaty on the European Union Monetary policy (from Ireland) which was paid to me in EMU's at the time. I had to fly over , paying for 7 seats on three flights. to get them there… at my expense… and I missed the birth of a child …PLEASE DON'T GO THERE AGAIN …

  • james moylan

    I believe the best deal for Brexit is Bretton Woods.Thats all ! Besides obviously giving the 18 year olds a chance now to have their say and perhaps who felt they did not understand and do a bit more now?

  • Point Of No Return

    The Berlin wall was taken down by NATO not the EU, Those complaining about the Brexit or any EXIT from the EU on the grounds of travel for work or tourism is a scare tactic, both had not been a problem before the EU. And a far as trade between counties there is no change. If you don't want it, then don't buy it. Unlike the EU commands then you have to buy it, no choice.

  • paul adams

    🇬🇧 Zzzz snore yawn
    Brexit means brexit 😁
    British empire the largest empire ever fact , so now where supposed to believe we can’t do it ourselves ??
    Even with the forced mass immigration imposed on us and the dumbing down 😬 under the right leadership minus feminist , cultural maxists and political correctness the talent is there

  • James Fox

    Get on with it, HARD BREXIT, save 39 Billion £'s, offer all EU member
    nations a one billion £'s credit line to purchase British made or grown
    goods, first quarterly drawn-down the first week they are oUT!

  • Julie 2918

    Excellent talk, rational, pragmatic and fact-based. ALL of the political players in this farcical dance should be made to watch this and hopefully learn.

  • Dean Beck

    brexit has been designed to fail with Mays deal don't fall for it we have a government that never wanted to leave don't believe the lies we want our country back that's all we the people have voted you nay sayers and fear mungers need to start believing we can make it after we leave . You can't have a once in a life time vote not like the result and do it again. That's not democracy you jokers need to keep off the grass

  • adrian Wilson

    Well now I,m going to commit Harry-Carry . If this bloke is correct ? how the hell did we allow the politicians to lead us into this den of thieves and cutthroats" they all want stringing up" . If he is correct? He has just shown how much of our freedom we have given up to this bunch of desperados . For years I have lived and traveled all over europe and what I have seen I don,t like, so I say whatever it takes we must get out now, Don,t let people like him put the frighteners on you, we lived perfectly well before EU we can do it again. LEAVE MEANS LEAVE

  • FreedomsDmocracy1st

    …wow! Never seen, heard and paid attention to not just an expert in law, but to a person's planation, oratory and/or essay on the future of the United Kingdom and the Nations States of the European Union.
    …I'm a blogger, writer and commentator of things around the world mostly US. But this gentleman monologue's surpass any understanding or comprehension on how to handle the problem that had arisen in the United Kingdom, called: Brexit. I wrote one letter directed to UK:https://freedomsdmocracy.blogspot.com/2018/12/open-letter-to-united-kingdom.html
    …it happens that the oratory or thinking of Judge at the General Court of the European Union addressing the withdraw of the UK from the EU, supports my "Open Letter to United Kingdom" and also it, his addressed discurse, respond to other very ugly said to UK when I call them: the Brexit Nation, former United Kingdom, he respond to my blog; I, with my hand placed on my chest do apologize to the people, to all politicians and its Majesties Queen and King on that commented made by me. Be it known that I am one great admirer to this kingdom, have the greatest respect to this historical and modern country that has contributed to the civilization of human beings on the surface of this planet …yet I reserve the legitimate right to criticize the decision taken by the Brexit votes and within that critics have taken the opportunity to explain, in my personal feelings, what I have thought is a grave mistake taking that so-called Brexit step. That had been a way to indicate how wrong that step is base on so many historical documents in existence of the existence of nations and after analyzing the political advantages it gives to some nations that had been governed with iron hand, which nation is bulling other nations and taking their lands, nationalizing those land as if it were a mine of gold, a petroleum mine that foreigners exploit and share with the local government, sharing in mutual benefits. A nation is a sacred space to respect in any time of history, past, present and future for man to exist in peace and not in the execution of acts of wars. Wars are acts of prehistory beings, not of modern and civilized intelligent beings and that is why courts or tribunals as well as diplomacies and the likes is used in order to keep law and order. My very hard comment were emitted with that purpose. But it had been not comprehended because that is based on a lot of writings done on the existence of man's civilization and couldn't plot the written by me during more than ten (10) years expressing my observation on all humans. Anyway, my apologies.

  • Norka Patricia Sandi

    Globalization will mean less responsibility for corporations when you talk about rules, as people will not known who to blame in case of poisons in the environment or products coming from another country. The opposite of what he he says. It is better to have each country to look after themselves. For example, fish and shrimp coming from the East were found to be farmed on sewers.

  • MrFergusferret

    Democracy trump's everything, the rest can be negotiated or as a nation we make our own laws or regulations that why we elect mp's

  • Herr Goldmann

    Disunited King Kongs will not be taken seriously by superpowers like the US or China. You are only strong within the EU, it is as simple as that.

  • mobe

    Very good speech understood everything he explained, may I just say the trouble with lectures like this, what you kids are to in doctrine to realise our judge loves the e,u his sons work and live in the e.u

    Giving a speech for staying in the e.u is all he done

    What is a balance debate were another judge steps up after him, giving his view why it could be good to leave with all the benefits it may achieve

    What the people need is critical thinking two sides of the dispute

    Then choose which discussion sounds the best.

  • Autotechmechanics

    Project fear in its usual narrative, Doom gloom Leave is Bad we must remain we must remain if you still want to leave take a deep breath think again dont be a racist bigoted nationalist that hates everyone, everywhere, think of the poor animals that wont get their steroids that enables them to grow unnaturally and twice as quick so we can eat them quicker.

  • Ginette Callaway

    It's a shame. if the European Union system had not grown into this arrogant, huge, blob of hubris, Brexit would probably never even been even desired by millions of people. The arrogant leadership can only blame itself. To think you can force various countries and the different cultural identities into a box and MAKE EVERYONE conform is very imperialistic. None of this would have happened but for the archaic laws of censorship, and maligning of people that criticized huge migration politics. France the same way. The UK will deal and survive. Don't be so pessimistic. Starting the EU wasn't easy either so reversing it won't be easy but at the end it will succeed and changes inside Britain will also take place, but people wanted sovereignty and that is the result of overbearing hubris by the EU. In simple terms "They just had enough of being ignored!" A good look in the mirror dear UN

  • Astro Peanut

    An establishment lawyer. Ingrained in the EU. Giving an opinion. So what? Not biased…………just more propaganda. No mention of the Real aim of the EU. The real dangers. Are not food allergens it’s the creation of a left wing Superstate. These drones are only interested in themselves. This is just waffle. All if, buts and maybe’s. The U.K. was going to go down the pan for not buying into the euro. The Brexit vote was going to cause massive unemployment……just the leave vote. Never happened. The EU is not Europe. There is a world outside the EU. European nations survive outside the EU. “Contrary to Wishes” sums it up. Quoting BBC research. Sums it up. Strange how we can survive two world wars but can not overcome problems with leaving a corrupt boys club.

  • peter dollins

    A multiple Conspiracy? Trump made a dry test case run against the UK to support the Quitters (BREXIT.) We had a vote in 1975 66% to Stay 33% to Quit. On arguments the Quitters sometimes use they need to accept the 75 vote as we were told it was for Ever. Remember? The 2016 vote was a scam driven by the Koch brothers with the 400 billionaires who support and follow them, Putin and his Trolls linked to Farage/Rees Mogg. (See The Devil's Bargain by Joshua Green, 'Dark Money' by Jane Mayer, the reports of Carole Calladawr of the Guardian ’The Less you Know the Better you Sleep' by David Satter setting in detail the mafia that is Putin’s Regime.) I lived in Extreme Right Countries as Spain 67 to spread the democratic word via the English Teaching Schools. I often nearly wept nights at the grimness of the poverty the depths of oppression. Any tension the Civil Guard were out in Valencia sub-machine guns waving. Children unconscious at seven from overwork, not sleeping, unconscious. People singing so sad in prisons there since 39 for voting for the Legal Republican Government, they were the lucky ones the less lucky were shot the less lucky again, tortured to death. Women, men children Civilians.  (See Dictatorship Rules, Franco You-Tube.) The boredom of that State the apathy driven by fear to make  people passive in their lives so they could only slump in misery frozen by fear I saw on the streets, repeatedly at the implied or direct threats Civil Guard: cowering eyes widening and clearly in disbelieving shock, still, from the civil War and its seemingly permanent dire effects.. This is a rotten Quitters fish must make all sick unto death. All Best UK/EU citizens . Peter L.

  • J So

    Blah blah blah, we don't need over regulation, but where it matters we will be aligned with the E.U.
    Just because it is going to require political will does not mean we should cancel the referrendom or have second one!

  • john murray

    He has his a vote the trouble is he lost ,is it not time he tried just to shut up ,what he seems to forget what they said they would do to win the next war?. And to remember the British lost many to save our independents ,

  • M Hu

    When the UK does a reciprocal trade deal with the US the UK prices on everything manufactured will drop like a rock because you will pay the real price of goods like the rest of the world outside the EU and their insane regulations designed to keep the small producer out of the market and favor the big multinational corporations that have the money and lawyers to easily overcome these same regulations.

  • David Lawrence

    Ian Forrester QC is on the payroll of the EU and is clearly benefitting financially from the UK membership. I’m glad he made reference to the extradition of the Slovak for the murder of Moria Jones in Glasgow in 2008. Putting aside the remedy for the issue being an agreement between the UK and the EU for the legal process of extradition to be replicated after Brexit, he conveniently omits to recognise that the Slovak in question, Marek Harcar would not have been in the UK had it not been for the free movement of EU nationals with no checks or vetting available to law enforcement agencies. Moria Jones would otherwise be alive today as would many other victims of Europe’s scum. Latvian Arnos Zalkalns who murdered Alice Gross in 2014 in London springs to mind. I know we have our own criminals, but I don’t advocate exporting them any more than welcoming Europe’s criminals. The rest of his talk is as selective as this example.

  • Robert Browne

    I live in Ireland turned out there was no standards to which banks had to adhere if they were they were all blatantly flaunted routinely broken and state agencies like supposed regulators and even the central bank all failed. Nobody has since been held to account accept the victims of what the governor of the Irish Central Bank described as a Ponzi scheme. So much for all these standards and there is roundup in most of the food products on sale. The EU has and is a disaster nothing about our countries being trashed, terrorized and broken by mass immigration. Good luck with your golf balls.

  • Soviet Union Jack

    It is hard …no-one ever said it was easy, executing the disentanglement in order to be an independent nation state, and it will take time and a lot of effort by these "fresh eager young minds". I note the careful addition of "crisis" and "conflict" to keep the flame of fear well lit. I made the mistake of thinking he might make one tiny mention of British achievements adopted by the EU …. how silly of me. When was it that the British education system first started removing the spine of the 'student body'?

  • Mr Westie

    He speaks well, but so did tony blair and where did he get us!! and he is still at it trying to keep us in, got to give you a heads up on that one— calm and dignified talk for sure but no fire in his belly to take a stand either way– a lay down your arms and kiss their feet type of guy, sure Lord Nelson had 28 dirrerent nationalitys on board But they were fighting to defend these shores from Europe, ask youself do you want to go calmly down with the Titanic (GB) or get away and live to rebuild another day———————–

  • Paul Booth

    Cus his mouth opened doesn't mean he is right or honest tge the eu took us for a ride and tgen made new laws etc and kept going on doing it with no person in the uk asking for it the eu ate a joke wgats saying they didn't make ppl have allergies to gain control for pharmaceutical industry yet another person paid to feed us all rubbish garnish in garbage out go to hell eu we are leaving don't do to us what ya did to Ireland and other countries trying to take the British for idiots if we where idiots we wouldn't want to leave the eu so good bye

  • Paul Booth

    Cus a teacher teaches and lecturers lecture it doesn't mean they no more than you the person teaching can also learn if thete not arrogant to think they know better it's like boxers there's always someone wiser better waiting around the corner

  • Sean Michael Wilson

    I might support the EU more if they banned people with coughs going to lectures and coughing all the way through! hehe…

  • gothic pagan

    And the problem with the current court system is that it is open to too much interpretation. A bit off track but the real problem with sociaty is a lack of moral fibre. If every one had the same basic moral principles, much arbitrary legislation would be irrelevant and unnecessary

  • laurejon

    I love these talks. They are very similar to the talks we see across industry whereby workers argue as to why the business should not outsource or offshore their jobs. But the fact is you cannot stand in the way of progress, and EU law is no longer required in the UK as the UK is leaving the European Union and will make laws tailored for its own purposes, rather than what we have today which is an ill fitting suit, made of stretch material, to fit 27 members.

  • Marisa Stefani

    OMG! I love when he speeks, very calm, explain everything so well, and very understand person! Marvellous man! Very clever person! Gentleman! Let's say : He is a good teacher either.

  • Peter Nicho

    The speaker is an indoctrinated EU lecturer, we passed a law that will accept all of the present eu laws into our country so that we can retain alignment with those that suit both of us and others that do not we will change. I wish that anyone associated with the EU would stop looking at the UK down its nose, the EU should remind itself we have thousands of years to run our own affairs before the EU and will prosper long after the EU collapses as it surely will.

  • Cormac Keenan

    This eminent QC does not know what he’s talking about, how do I know I hear you gasp, I’ll tell you why, because I’m a Brexiteer’s and zealot what ever that means.

    Brexit a future without an upside.

  • Russian Bot

    Omg, no wonder people voted leave, im interested in what hes saying
    But christ on a bike, he positively makes johnson gove and farage look like a magic mike outfit.
    I guess this is probably why we are where we are, no one actually wants to read the small print,
    Keep up the good work

  • jhiv3945

    Come on, tell the truth. It is not 'cooperation'! The EU makes laws which it issues to individual governments as 'directives'. The governments of countries within the EU, including our own MUST incorporate these into their own laws or be fined for not doing so. Upwards of 70% of our laws are now made by a few unelected beurocrats in Brussels, Germany having the most influence. What are we doing? It is appalling that Britain should be under the domination of foreign powers.

  • David S


  • james warbrick

    the Berlin wall demolition was the biggest mistake since ww1 what it meant was that the west subsidised a soviet bankrupt organisation

  • Freddy Cook

    As I see it, this is a rather expensive way of doing business. The USA, China the 53 Commonwealth countries are not in this club, and if Germany was in this club and was paying in more then it was getting out, they would do something about it. We pay in £9 billion then we get back a £95 billion trade deficit, why not trade without so much money sloshing around in handouts and paying undemocratic leaders like Jean-Claude Juncker who pays no tax and is the highest paid dictator in Europe. Trading partners is what I signed up for in the 70’s not a federal dictatorship.

  • syd

    Ever wonder why it's the older people who are the keenest on Brexit. Reason is they can remember life before the EU, it really wasn't that bad.

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