The government is increasingly scrutinized for its decision to use a dedicated Brexiteer attorney to provide advice on the legality of violations of the EU withdrawal agreement.
On Saturday, Suella Braverman QC, chairman of the annual general meeting of the bar committee representing court lawyers in England and Wales, was repeatedly criticized for her role as the government’s chief legal counsel, attendees said.
Jessica Simor QC, vice-chairman of the EU Council’s Legal Committee, asked Braverman why he would have such advice in light of the very serious matter that was at issue. [was not] Did you find it to Treasury Advisor James Eadie QC?
Instead, she sought opinions from Guglielmo Verdirame QC, professor of law at Kings College London, Richard Ekins, professor of law and constitutional government at Oxford University, and Richard Howell, lawyer at Brick Court Chambers in London.
Verdirame, Ekins and Howell’s participation in government advisory was first disclosed by Guardian.
Simor said: Howell is a one-year qualified attorney who, despite being a student attorney at the time, joined the team for the prime minister in the pronoun case. He was an active participant in voting vacations and was praised by Dominic Cummings on his blog for his contributions to winning voting vacations.
Both professors are dedicated Brexiters. Professor Ekins [the thinktank] Exchange of policies advocating breach of withdrawal agreement. Verdirame is also a member of various advanced Brexit groups. He is clearly related to Michael Gove and Dominic Cummings.
Simor said none of the three were included in the Attorney General’s Panel, a list of approved attorneys who generally do work for the government. Braverman also asked who taught the three lawyers.
Before becoming QC, Verdirame was a member of the Attorney General’s Panel. In 2015, he and Ekins co-authored a treatise for the British Constitutional Association that exactly advocated the approach currently adopted by the government.
It is wrong to require ministers to treat international legal obligations, including treaties that have not been legalized, on par with parliamentary action or common law obligations. So the government knew their opinions before ordering.
According to a report from the Bar Council meeting posted on Twitter by Alison Padfield QC, who attended, the Attorney General said it was the convention that could not comment on the content of the advice. So she couldn’t say much.
She said that Braverman was not uncommon for judges to seek expert advice and that he took his duties very seriously, always reliant on legal authorities over opinion, prioritizing the rule of law and putting politics second.
The Guardian did not see the advice of the three lawyers and did not know what to do.
In a separate advice to the Cabinet Office released by the Guardian last week, Braverman argued that if parliamentary sovereignty was needed, Britain’s international treaty obligations could be ignored.
Another critic of Braveman, Philippe Sands QC, professor of international law at University College London, told Guardian: The job of a wise attorney general is to avoid criticism for going to fellow travelers with advice from someone who is truly outstretched. .
There is no indication that the minister was influenced by the attorney’s advice.
Critics argue that the government would have been better off seeking advice from lawyers without views on the Brexit debate.
The Guardian asked the Attorney General’s office why Ekins, Verdirame, and Howell had instructed the government to provide external legal opinions. Declined to comment.
The three attorneys did not respond to requests for comment.
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