Northern Ireland Protocol Legal, UK Supreme Court Rules

Supreme Court unanimously dismisses judicial review appeal on disputed Brexit deal deal

The UK Supreme Court has unanimously dismissed legal challenges to the Brexit Northern Ireland Protocol.

In a Supreme Court ruling on Wednesday, five of the country’s most senior judges ruled that the controversial deal was legal.

The court dismissed the judicial review appeal on all three grounds, including alleging that the Brexit trade agreement violated the Trade Unions Act 1800 and the Northern Ireland Act 1998.

In two separate cases jointly considered by judges, this challenge was made by a group of trade unionist politicians, Brexiteers and activists.

They included former Labor Minister Kate Hoey, former Ulster Unionist Party leader Steve Aiken, former Brexit MP Ben Habib and Belfast-based loyalist Clifford Peoples.

wrap up judgmentSir Stevens said:

“As to any conflict between the Protocol and the rights in the Article 6 trade framework, a clear answer has been explicitly provided by Congress. [of the 1800 Acts of Union]”

Good Friday Pact ‘Broken’

Peoples, who was the first to file a landmark legal challenge in response to the news, told The Epoch Times that the ruling “means a lot” for people in Northern Ireland.

“The issues of self-determination, minority rights, and equality matter a lot,” said the former pastor.

“What the Supreme Court has said is that all these rights are subject to the will of Congress, which is false.

“They may have legally fulfilled their terms, but in the social contract that the British government has always made for the people of Northern Ireland, it is arguably wrong.

“Whether that fight will continue in the Republic of Ireland, through their court system, or indeed through the European court system, remains to be determined.

“Certainly, some may think that this decision is the end, but it is not, it only portends the beginning.”

Following Wednesday’s ruling, appellant Ben Habib told the BBC that the ruling showed that the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland had “collapsed”.

“We have the constitution perfectly clear, and that in itself is our victory,” he said.

“We have had the Supreme Court confirm that there is an Irish Sea border that was imposed without consent between the communities and that is what we have been alleging.

“They may have legally ruled that they did, but in effect the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland has been broken, the Good Friday Agreement has been broken, and that is to us in full constitutional clarity.”

DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, who also attended Wednesday’s hearing, said the case highlighted why unionists oppose the trade deal.

“The government must consider this ruling, its own claims to the court, and take the necessary steps to replace the protocol with an arrangement that can be supported by union members,” he said.

When asked about the Supreme Court’s ruling in the House of Commons, Northern Ireland Commissioner Chris Heaton Harris said “things need to change”.

“The current situation is undermining Belfast’s Good Friday pact and power-sharing,” he said Wednesday.

“Everyone in this chamber, everyone in Northern Ireland and our interlocutors in the European Union understand that the Protocol is causing real problems, and these include trade disruption and diversion, a huge amount of traders It includes the costs and bureaucracy and the areas that Northern Irish people couldn’t cope with.We have access to the same range of commodities.”

Loyalists Protest Brexit Protocol in Northern Ireland
Loyalists protest against the Brexit Protocol in Northern Ireland at Belfast Harbor Estate in Belfast, Northern Ireland on July 3, 2021. (Jason Cairnduff/Reuters)


An attorney involved in Wednesday’s Supreme Court case told the Epoch Times that they are taking time to consider the ruling.

Ciaran O’Hare of Belfast law firm McIvor Farrell Solicitors said: Supreme Court,” he said.

“It is clear that our Court of Appeal has taken this exceptional action because of the great constitutional importance of this case, not only for Northern Ireland, but for the United Kingdom as a whole, Ireland and the European Union. ”

As part of the Brexit deal, the protocol will create a trade border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

The trade deal was agreed by the UK and EU in 2019 to ensure the free movement of trade across Ireland’s borders after Brexit.

The deal, which will come into force in 2021, will move customs and regulatory checks to the Irish Sea, create new bureaucracies in the movement of goods between the UK and Northern Ireland, and trade in the region will remain restricted to a specific EU single country. subject to market rules.

The latest Supreme Court decision was handed down after two days of hearings last year considered its legality arguments after the Court of Appeals upheld the Belfast High Court decision dismissing the legal challenge. rice field.

The appellant argued that the law giving effect to the Revocation Agreement passed at Westminster was inconsistent with the Acts of Union of 1800 which formed the United Kingdom, in particular Article 6 of the Act Guaranteeing Free Trade within Great Britain.

The legal challenge also argued that the Protocol undermines the Peace Process Act, the Northern Ireland Act 1998, which underpins a power-sharing settlement in Stormt, Northern Ireland.

The Northern Ireland Act that brought the historic Good Friday Peace Accord into force ensures that the constitutional status of the region cannot be changed without the consent of the people in a referendum.

It also included a cross-community clause under Section 42, allowing controversial decisions in Stormont to be made only if supported by a certain percentage of both Nationalist and Unionist MLAs.

While the withdrawal agreement provides for future parliamentary votes on the continuation of the protocol, the UK government amended the Stormont Regulations to allow direct majority votes without the need to meet a threshold of consent between communities. bottom.

In 2021, Belfast High Court Judge Judge Colton dismissed on all grounds a judicial review challenge to the legality of the Protocol.

His ruling was upheld by an appeals court last year.

The court found that the Protocol conflicted with the laws of Union on free trade, but the judge ruled that the 1800 statute was legally amended by Congress.

The court also rejected claims that post-Brexit trade deals changed Northern Ireland’s constitutional status.

PA Media contributed to this report