BIICL Statement on Amendments to the UK Internal Market Bill
BIICL welcomes amendments made to the UK Internal Market Bill
The British Institute of International and Comparative Law welcomes amendments made to the UK Internal Market Bill on Monday 9 November by the House of Lords that have removed a proposed power for Ministers to legislate "notwithstanding" international law. The proposed power amounted to a repudiatory breach of international obligations under the Withdrawal Agreement, a treaty which the UK freely entered into earlier this year. Compliance with treaty obligations is essential to ensure a functioning international order based on the Rule of Law. This is well established in many spheres, including in international trade and investment, where it underpins business confidence. The Institute notes that, like trade or investment treaties, the Withdrawal Agreement makes provision for dispute resolution mechanisms, and these mechanisms will continue to be available under the amended Bill. The House of Lords amendments are consistent with recommendations made in a report by the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law, which forms part of our Institute. The Bingham Centre report finds that respecting the Rule of Law requires that Ministers should not have the power unilaterally to undercut internationally agreed dispute resolution procedures, or to deny access to justice in UK courts to those affected by their decisions.