The Millions in the Margins – an update.

Earlier this week we received the draft of the legal advice “The Millions in the Margins” which we commissioned on your behalf from John Halford at Bindmans and Gerry Facenna and his colleagues at Monckton Chambers.

With the scope of the brief the advice is extensive, some 46 pages, and complex. Even though it is still a draft we are very pleased with it

The team have told us it is “very clear” our concerns about marginalisation of a great many UK nationals in the negotiations are “well founded” and that “many are simply left unprotected” adding that the advice we have commissioned:

“…will highlight absences in the Draft Withdrawal Agreement including:

  • categories of people whose rights have not been protected by the withdrawal agreement, even where they may have made past life choices in the expectation that they one day would have a right of residence in another state;
  • inconsistencies in the withdrawal agreement between the treatment of different types of relationship;
  • gaps in the protection of some children and disabled people; and,
  • certain special rights which currently guarantee family cohesion but are no longer being protected.

The advice will look at ways in which residence rights can be lost and the risks this presents as well as the restrictions which have been placed on continued rights, effectively locking people in to a single country.

We examine the extent to which the gaps in protection in the Withdrawal Agreement are inconsistent with a number of fundamental legal requirements including:

  • the duty on the EU to respect fundamental rights and certain international law obligations when entering into agreements with a State which is to become a non-Member State;
  • the duty to respect the principle of non-discrimination; and
  • the duty to respect the prohibition on retroactivity as well as the principles of legal certainty and legitimate expectations.

 We conclude that there are real grounds for concern that the Withdrawal Agreement fails to respect a number of these rights, duties and principles.”

This work is essential and unique: only The People’s Challenge is giving the Withdrawal Agreement, which in its final form may shape the fate of millions, the independent scrutiny it requires.

Given that there are inevitably questions and clarifications, as well as making sure we address issues brought into plain sight by the British Chamber of Commerce, the Professional and Business Services Council and the Business Minister (Greg Clark) in the past few days, it will be a few days yet before we have the final version.

We are working with our legal team to clarify and hone the advice in the light of the fast developing circumstances. Even yesterday there was yet another, far from perfect (David Davis says “impossible”), proposition leaked out from No. 10.

Rest assured, though, we will be bringing this information to you, as soon as we can.


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Published by Grahame Pigney on behalf of The People’s Challenge Ltd.



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