Alison Young: Benkharbouche and the Future of Disapplication – UK Constitutional Law Association

Posted October 26th, 2017 in bills, brexit, conflict of laws, EC law, jurisdiction, news, Supreme Court, working time by sally

‘Last week, Lord Sumption delivered the majority decision of the Supreme Court on Benkharbouche v Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs: Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and Libya v Janah. The case would have been heard in December of last year, but for the small matter of Miller, which caused the hearing to be moved to June of this year. Brexit and Miller, however, do not only seem to have affected the timing of the hearing. They have also affected its importance. What might have been originally anticipated as a potentially defining moment – where the Supreme Court confirmed that the EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms could be used as a stand-alone cause of action to disapply primary legislation and explained how this could be achieved – was translated into an almost blasé statement by the court that ‘a conflict between EU law and English domestic law must be resolved in favour of the former, with the latter being disapplied; whereas the remedy in the case of inconsistency with Article 6 of the Human Rights Convention is a declaration of incompatibility.’ What might once have seemed controversial has become run of the mill. What has led to the casual acceptance of ‘disapplication’ of a UK statute; and what will happen to disapplication – and the Charter – post-Brexit?’

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UK Constitutional Law Association, 24th October 2017