Relegating Parliament

by Good Law Project

Relegating Parliament

by Good Law Project
Good Law Project
Case Owner
Good Law Project's mission is to achieve change through the law. We use litigation to uphold democracy, protect the environment, and ensure that no one is left behind.
Closed
on 08th February 2021
£23,005
pledged of £25,000 target from 754 pledges
Good Law Project
Case Owner
Good Law Project's mission is to achieve change through the law. We use litigation to uphold democracy, protect the environment, and ensure that no one is left behind.

Latest: Feb. 8, 2021

Withdrawing our judicial review

On 21 January we issued proceedings to challenge what we saw as an abuse of so-called Henry VIII powers – powers for Ministers to effect major law change in a way that bypasses Parliament.

Here …

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In 1539, Henry VIII gained the right to legislate by decree, enabling him to bypass Parliament altogether. And now Boris Johnson, the man who has already tried and failed to suspend Parliament, is taking further cues on democracy from a Tudor King. 

On leaving the EU, Henry VIII powers were originally intended to be used narrowly, to make technical changes to the statute book to ensure laws adopted inside the EU made sense outside it. We believe these narrow powers are being abused: Government says it can use them to abolish the entire state aid regime without parliamentary debate. But we think this is constitutionally offensive - and unlawful. 

With, as we understand it, no state aid regime in place, without the checks and controls it brings, the door is flung open for Government to provide financial aid that would favour particular industries and companies over their rivals. Given the Government’s tendency to benefit donors to the Conservative Party you may well think we need those rules. 

The scrapping of the state aid regime will be the tip of the iceberg. 

The Future Relationship Act, presented to Parliament in the dying days of 2020, contains extraordinarily broad Henry VIII powers. Ministers can now rewrite the rules on everything from your rights at work to environmental protections. In fact it is no exaggeration to state that any area of law touched on by the EU is now within the purview of Ministers. They can even extend their own powers under the Act. 

The stakes could hardly be higher.

We believe that the use of Henry VIII powers to scrap the state aid regime is unlawful and we have issued judicial review proceedings. 

The Government’s actions undermine Parliament. We at Good Law Project mean, having previously orchestrated the successful challenge to Johnson’s prorogation, to stand guard.

The details: 

Good Law Project has instructed Hausfeld LLP and leading Counsel Tim Buley QC and Yaaser Vanderman in this challenge. You can read the bundle as filed here.

10% of the funds raised will be a contribution to the general running costs of Good Law Project. We will use any surplus to develop other litigation. 

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Update 1

Good Law Project

Feb. 8, 2021

Withdrawing our judicial review

On 21 January we issued proceedings to challenge what we saw as an abuse of so-called Henry VIII powers – powers for Ministers to effect major law change in a way that bypasses Parliament.

Here is what we wrote in our crowdfunding page:

On leaving the EU, Henry VIII powers were originally intended to be used narrowly, to make technical changes to the statute book to ensure laws adopted inside the EU made sense outside it. We believe these narrow powers are being abused: Government says it can use them to abolish the entire state aid regime without parliamentary debate. But we think this is constitutionally offensive – and unlawful.

On 3 February Government announced a consultation exercise on a new state aid regime. That announcement states:

The consultation will run for a minimum of 8 weeks. Subject to the outcomes of this consultation, the government will bring forward primary legislation to establish in domestic law a system of subsidy control that works for the entirety of the UK.” 

Now, we may like, or we may not like, the new state aid regime Parliament adopts. But that doesn’t matter. What matters is the commitment that the regime should be made by Parliament, with its safeguards and democratic mandate, rather than a Minister.

We have therefore written to the Secretary of State withdrawing our judicial review, notwithstanding that we continue to believe his actions were unlawful. Fortunately – because it is in practice impossible to return crowdfunded monies – we were able to close our crowdfunding page (just) before any sums were drawn down.

At Good Law Project we are not pro- or anti- Government. But we are pro good governance. And I want to demonstrate that to you very clearly through our actions.

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