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More detail on Brexit and LASPO review announced

23 January 2017

The prime minister rules out continued membership of the single market, the LASPO Post-Implementation Review is announced and the Law Society anticipates the Supreme Court judgement on Article 50.

Last week we published our latest report on Brexit and the law.

The prime minister gave her first keynote speech on Brexit since the party conference in October 2016. She committed to putting the final deal to both Houses of Parliament, and ruled out continued membership of the single market. The need for "implementation phases" for various industries was accepted.

The Rt Hon Sir Oliver Heald QC MP, Minister of State for the Courts and Justice, announced the long-awaited Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders (LASPO) Post-Implementation Review. He will send a post-implementation memorandum to parliament setting out how the act has been affected by litigation, how it was implemented, and the various reviews of legal aid that have taken place since 2012. The Post-Implementation Review will be concluded by April 2018, and will be an open and collaborative process with stakeholders. We look forward to working with the government on this vitally important piece of work.

Looking forward, we are expecting the Supreme Court to hand down judgment in the Article 50 case on Tuesday of this week. This will be a definitive moment for parliamentary activity on Brexit, determining how the government goes about triggering Article 50.

This week in parliament

Monday 23 January

Nothing to report

Tuesday 24 January

The UK Supreme Court will hand down judgment in the Article 50 Case R (on the application of Miller & Dos Santos) v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union

House of Commons

Justice oral questions (for which we have submitted questions)

Wales Bill, consideration of Lords amendments

Public Bill Committee on the Intellectual Property (Unjustified Threats) Bill

Treasury Select Committee oral evidence session on the UK’s future economic relationship with the European Union

International Trade Select Committee oral evidence session on UK trade options beyond 2019 – Mickael Laurans from the Law Society is giving evidence

House of Lords

Oral question on the current priorities for the promotion of UK exports of goods and services, Baroness Quin

Wednesday 25 January

House of Commons

Wales oral questions

Joint Committee on Human Rights, oral evidence session on Human Rights and Business


  • Rob Billington, Director, Group Production and Sourcing, Mulberry
  • Mike Barry, Director, Sustainable Business, Marks and Spencer
  • Nick Beighton, Chief Executive, ASOS
  • Chris Grayer, Manager, Global Code of Practice, Next

Thursday 26 January

House of Commons

Exiting the European Union oral questions

House of Lords

Debate on the impact of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU and potential withdrawal from the single market on the rights of EU citizens already living here and the future needs of the UK economy - Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town

Friday 27 January

House of Commons

Sitting Friday - reading of private members bills:

  • Homelessness Reduction Bill, simultaneously report stage and 3rd reading - Bob Blackman
  • Withdrawal from the European Union (Article 50) Bill 2nd reading - Mr Peter Bone

Last week in parliament

Monday 16 January

House of Commons

The Second Reading Committee looked at the Intellectual Property (Unjustified Threats) Bill. The Bill has cross-party support, and both sides of the House acknowledge the importance and crosscutting nature of intellectual property.

House of Lords

The House of Lords debated the impact on litigants in person of the introduction of administration charges and other costs when bringing claims in courts and tribunals. We briefed peers ahead of the debate, and several of our points were raised, including on legal aid, and the proposed personal injury and small claims reforms. In his response, the government’s representative, Lord Keen of Elie, made the following points:

  • Savings need to be made across departments and within the Ministry of Justice and there can be no exceptions for tribunals.
  • Increases to some court fees are required to ensure that they are properly funded and that access to justice is protected.
  • Court modernisation is designed to offer better help to those who do not have legal representation and to improve access to justice.

Read the full debate on courts and tribunals: administration charges.

Tuesday 17 January

Brexit Speech by the prime minister at Lancaster House

The prime minister delivered her first major speech on Brexit since the Conservative Party conference in October 2016. The main new points were:

  • The government will put the final deal to a vote in both Houses of Parliament
  • The government will seek a new free trade agreement to replace membership of the single market. They will also look to establish a new agreement on the customs union.
  • The government accepts the need for an implementation phase and notes that the length of these may vary for different areas of law.

She noted four main objectives for the negotiations:

  • Certainty and clarity
  • A stronger Britain
  • A fairer Britain
  • A truly global Britain.

Watch the footage and read the full speech on the government's negotiating objectives for exiting the EU.

House of Lords

The EU Justice Sub-Committee held a further oral evidence session on Brexit and civil justice cooperation at which the Rt Hon Sir Richard Aikens QC, Brick Court Chambers, and the Rt Hon Sir Mathew Thorpe QC, 1 Hare Court, gave evidence. This session followed a joint session with the Law Society and Bar Council. The session focused on Brussels I, Brussels II and the Maintenance Regulation. Both witnesses were in support of the UK continuing to take part in the regulations and outlined the benefits to commercial parties and those involved in the family courts.

Read the full session on Brexit: civil justice co-operation and the CJEU.

Wednesday 18 January

House of Commons

There was a debate on the implication of exiting the EU for security, law enforcement and criminal justice. The debate saw a number of MPs speak on issues the Law Society has been calling to be included in our new arrangements with the EU. These include the European Arrest Warrant, Eurojust, Europol and the European Investigation Order. The Law Society briefed MPs ahead of the debate.

Broadly there was consensus among contributors to the debate that existing arrangements, or their equivalents, should be sought as a priority upon the UK exiting the EU, and that the UK must ensure it does not lose portions of the ‘toolbox’ available to it through security and criminal justice sharing arrangements.

House of Lords

An oral question was asked about stopping aggressive tax avoidance. The government contended that the UK was at the cutting edge in this area, and had one of the lowest tax gaps in the world. The opposition said that the UK needed to do more to reassure Europe that it would not become a tax haven following Brexit, and the government was criticised for lack of action to encourage overseas territories and crown dependencies to be more transparent about tax avoidance.

The Wales Bill reached its third reading in the Lords and has now been returned to the Commons. It will next be considered on 24 January. The third reading is the last opportunity to amend a bill before it is sent for royal assent.

Thursday 19 January

Nothing to report

Friday 20 January

Nothing to report

Tags: Westminster weekly update | European Union | access to justice | Brexit

About the author

Alexandra Cardenas is Head of Public Affairs and Campaigns at the Law Society. Public Affairs manages the relationships with parliament and government. She is a dual qualified solicitor in England and Wales (2014), and Colombia (2002). Prior to the Society, she practised as a human rights lawyer and worked at Macmillan Cancer Support and Animal Defenders International.

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