House of Commons Library briefing: EU (Withdrawal) Bill – the Charter, EU Law and ‘Francovich’ Damages

The House of Commons Library have published a November 2017 briefing (pdf) on the EU (Withdrawal) Bill. It addresses the Charter, general principles of EU law, and ‘Francovich’ damages.

On the Charter of Fundamental Rights:

Clause 5(4) exempts the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms from being converted into domestic law, and clause 5(5) explains that pre-Brexit case law on the Charter would be read as referring instead to ‘corresponding retained fundamental rights and principles’ (undefined).

The Government contends that no rights would be lost because the Charter did not introduce any new rights, but this is contested. And although the Charter is criticised for adding a layer of complexity, this Bill arguably adds complexity and uncertainty in the way it handles the Charter. It could also affect the negotiations relating to Ireland/Northern Ireland issues. Several amendments relating to the Charter have been tabled.

The Charter might continue to have ‘residual’ effects in the UK even after its removal under these provisions, for instance in relation to the withdrawal agreement, any transition arrangements, and future cooperation.

Download the full briefing (pdf).