Nobody Knows

The Brexit nonsense drags on. There is now an argument in which some claim that the government should disclose the detailed legal advice it has received about the legal effect of the proposed future basis of the UK’s relationship with the UK. The demands for such disclosure are being made most strongly by politicians who implacably oppose the “deal” so there seems little point in disclosing the advice.

Nevertheless, we must bear in mind another point. The whole of law is founded on the principle that nobody knows; if you consult a lawyer on a case that lawyer may advise to consult another more senior or specialist lawyer. The other side will have done the same and when the case comes before the court the judge will issue a verdict. Judges are not infallible so there is at least one (and sometimes several) layers of appeal. Such is the uncertain nature of legal advice.

Further, it is always a very bad idea to disclose legal advice of this kind because (a) the advice might be wrong and (b) the advisor may change his or her mind in future or (c) a different advisor in the future may come up with different advice and it makes no sense for a government to commit itself to any legal advice on a such complicated subject when it does not need to do so. To commit itself when not absolutely necessary would not be in the interests of the nation because, after all, when it comes to Brexit nobody knows.

3 Responses

  1. “when it comes to Brexit nobody knows” really?
    Why did your father fight the German occupation of Cyprus? and your mother resent occupation of Czechoslovakia? May is a traitor and we need no stinking deals. We are better than the EU plutocrats and globalists. So are you.

  2. From John Redwood:

    1. Signing the Withdrawal Agreement gives the EU what they want, taking away most of our bargaining power.
    2. The financial commitments are open ended, with some very long lasting. They will doubtless be much more than the Treasury £39 bn forecast. This is money given for nothing in return that we do not legally owe them.
    3.We have to accept and follow any law they pass for the next two years or more, without any vote or voice to try to stop laws that damage our interests.
    4. We cannot sign any trade deals with other countries all the time we stay in the so called Implementation period.
    5.Under the Agreement we might be another 45 months stuck in the EU, making a total of 78 months or six and a half years from our decision to leave. Parliament promised to enact the decision of the People’s vote, not to delay it indefinitely.
    6.The Irish backstop splits the UK up.
    7. The Withdrawal Agreement is legally binding. The Political Declaration is a vague wish list including the contradiction of a possible free trade agreement and a possible customs partnership.
    8 Far from ending business uncertainty it prolongs it and makes it worse, as it makes a good outcome for the UK less likely.

    This is an unbelievably bad Agreement for the UK and a great one for the EU. It is not a deal, as it does not offer the UK any of the things the PM said she wanted. It is an invitation to much more uncertainty and more talks on worse terms for the UK.

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