I’ve previously blogged about how leaving the safety of the EU would affect the United Kingdom with regards to potential future conflict and I know that seemed to be laughed off by those who proposed leaving the EU when Cameron made mention of it. Last century we were warring with Europe like crazy, now I hear people say that could never happen again. Well, war is what can so easily happen when the talking stops between nations. However, today I wish to write about the legal impact of leaving the EU. I’ve had a ringside seat to the legal side of things for over thirty years and I’ve seen how the state has simply messed things up.
Firstly, the public need legal protection from our government not through our own courts but by the European Courts. The Human Rights Act isn’t some liberal nonsense dreamt up by idiots but it is the outcome of critical thought by the world’s best legal minds. There has to be a way to prevent a state from going wrong and from my understanding whether we remain in Europe or leave we will still be protected by the European Court of Human Rights (“ECHR”) as one of the founding signatories to the European Convention on Human Rights in 1951. We will, however, no longer be protected by the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU’), which is responsible for ensuring that European law is interpreted and applied in the same way in every member state and is currently the highest court of appeal in the UK on EU matters and whose judgments we are obliged to follow.
The CJEU has the task of supervising the uniform application of EU law throughout the member states and in so doing it can create case law. It is important not to confuse it with the ECHR, which is completely separate and not an institution of the EU. The majority of cases heard by the CJEU are brought by member states and institutions of the Community, or are referred to it by national courts. It has only limited power to deal with cases brought by individual citizens, and such cases are rarely heard.
Luckily for the UK, the print media is in competition from the Internet, so public opinion cannot be twisted and moulded by what the Daily Mail says. It’s all too cosy when an MP like Whittingdale avoids media ridicule, with a coincidence that he allowed the press to self regulate. Who knows if the two are linked by the legal system, the penal system? Parliament and the press can get quite cosy together if allowed to, but if a person is a victim of that relationship then as a last resort there is the European Court.
A new thing by the state is that prisons are going to be able self-determine certain aspects of what they do, but I believe you have to have one prison system ruled by centralised governance maintaining a rule book of prison service orders and prison service instructions. That way the staff know exactly what’s what and so do all the prisoners.
The staff who look after a country’s law breakers appear to have been overlooked by those who want to leave Europe. They are for the most part good people who rarely get the recognition they deserve. The dynamic within prison between officers and prisoners is complex, when it goes wrong like the Strangeways riot, prison officers have to sort that out. Having both the European Courts in place protects the rights of the imprisoned and protects prison officers from unrest in prison. Access to legal resolution of problems in prison has stopped many potential riots. Our government is motivated by revenge justice with little or no sympathy for the imprisoned and it is the impartial Courts in Europe that stop the worst excesses of how Parliament views those imprisoned and those who look after the imprisoned.
It is concerning that voting to leave Europe on the 23rd June would eventually see the protection offered to us by the European Court of Justice redacted. Cameron states that we must remain within the European Union and I agree that we should. However it is of great concern that Cameron still maintains his intentions to scrap the Human rightsAct and create the “British Bill of Rights” in its place. Whatever decision is made as a result of the referendum we cannot allow Cameron to go ahead with these ridiculous and dangerous proposals. I have written previously about how important it is for us as a Nation and as individual citizens to have the protection of the Human Rights Act. This Act should be left as it is with the assurances we will remain within the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights.