is a bar­ris­ter and owner of the Stanbury Le­gal Group. He is a Vis­it­ing Lec­turer in law for the Univer­sity of Leeds and Buck­ing­ham. Here he ex­am­ines three key is­sues in the EU de­bate from a le­gal per­spec­tive

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Im­mi­gra­tion did reach its high­est to­tal ever last year (how­ever this was dur­ing an im­mi­gra­tion crises) This is like say­ing more bombs fell on Bri­tain dur­ing 1941 than ever be­fore (but that was dur­ing a war).

There is noth­ing to say that im­mi­gra­tion will be as high next year. A con­certed ef­fort is in place to re­duce the cri­sis through­out the EU. It may go up, or stay the same. But even­tu­ally it will re­duce again.

The peo­ple who are im­mi­grants are NOT mi­grat­ing to take ben­e­fits from the UK. Yes, a very mi­nus­cule amount may be do­ing that, but the ma­jor­ity are mov­ing out of ne­ces­sity, fear, and no prac­ti­cal al­ter­na­tive.

The re­moval of per­sons who have im­mi­grated to the UK il­le­gally, or who have proven to be crim­i­nal once here, is sub­ject to the Hu­man Rights Act, and the Euro­pean Con­ven­tion on Hu­man Rights. For this to change, it would re­quire the re­peal or amend­ment of the Hu­man Rights Act. There are, of course, wider im­pli­ca­tions of such an ac­tion.

The UK will not ex­pel all ex­ist­ing im­mi­grants, re­gard­less of the out­come. It may be that if we Leave, a points-based sys­tem could be in­tro­duced, and some ex­ist­ing im­mi­grants may not meet the re­quire­ments, but this still would not mean they could au­to­mat­i­cally be ex­pelled.

There are ap­prox­i­mately 1.3 mil­lion Bri­tish per­sons liv­ing and work­ing in the EU. There could be neg­a­tive im­pli­ca­tions for these per­sons as well, as they may lose their right to move­ment if the UK Leaves.

Im­mi­gra­tion will not stop re­gard­less of the re­sult of the ref­er­en­dum.

Le­gal im­mi­gra­tion will con­tinue. It may be sought to be con­trolled in a dif­fer­ent way if the UK Leaves. We do no know whether this will be more ef­fi­cient or ef­fec­tive.

Il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion will con­tinue. It is il­le­gal. It may be sought to be con­trolled in a dif­fer­ent way if the UK Leaves. We do not know whether this will be more ef­fi­cient or ef­fec­tive.


If the UK Re­mains, we will con­tinue to pay the ex­ist­ing con­tri­bu­tion to the EU, how­ever we will con­tinue to re­ceive sub­si­dies and re­bates from the EU in re­turn.

The fig­ure of £350 mil­lion per week is ar­ti­fi­cial and is not rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the net cost. The fig­ure is, af­ter tak­ing into ac­count the afore­men­tioned coun­ter­bal­ance, ap­prox­i­mately £250 mil­lion per week.

In re­al­ity, no one knows the ex­act fig­ure. This con­tri­bu­tion there­fore amounts to an un­known amount per per­son.

The con­tri­bu­tion pays for a range of dif­fer­ent things, but most of all it pays for mem­ber­ship into the EU’s free mar­ket econ­omy.

If the UK Re­mains, the na­tion’s trade will be main­tained. In that re­spect, the UK will not need to worry about carv­ing out a new niche in the world. Things will con­tinue in much the same way as they cur­rently do.

The UK’s econ­omy is the fifth largest in the world and is cur­rently, prior to the ref­er­en­dum, grow­ing slowly but steadily.

If the UK Re­mains, there is noth­ing to in­di­cate that this would sud­denly change dra­mat­i­cally (save the pres­ence of some in­ter­ven­ing event such as an­other world bank­ing cri­sis, for in­stance).

If the UK should Leave, there will no longer be the need to pay the con­tri­bu­tion of £250 mil­lion per week. This amount could, in the­ory, be used for other do­mes­tic pur­poses by a fu­ture govern­ment. (There is no guar­an­tee any fu­ture govern­ment would use the money for the pur­poses cur­rently stated by the Leave cam­paign, or on the same ba­sis the EU cur­rently pro­vide sub­si­dies etc).

If the UK should Leave, there is the pos­si­bil­ity that the UK could en­ter into free-trade agree­ments with the EU and other lead­ing world eco­nomic pow­ers. This could pro­vide ex­pan­sion and growth with­out the need to pay any con­tri­bu­tion to achieve this.

How­ever, the EU and, more re­cently, the US, have both in­di­cated that this would:

a) Not be achiev­able at all; or b) Not take place within a rea­son­able pe­riod of time af­ter with­draw­ing from the EU.

If the UK Leaves, there is no fac­tual ba­sis on which the econ­omy will def­i­nitely pro­ceed.

There are pos­si­ble ways it may pro­ceed. There is noth­ing to say it will def­i­nitely grow. There is noth­ing to say it will def­i­nitely not grow.

How­ever, based on the cur­rent im­pact of the ref­er­en­dum on the cur­rency and fi­nan­cial in­ter­ests of the UK, the pos­si­bil­ity of Leav­ing is hav­ing a neg­a­tive, desta­bil­is­ing ef­fect. This will even­tu­ally resta­bilise with UK econ­omy in some con­di­tion.

To utilise what is, seem­ingly, the clos­est com­pa­ra­ble coun­try, Nor­way, they pay more than the UK cur­rently pays to par­tic­i­pate in the EU mar­ket. They pay this based on a trade agree­ment be­tween the EU and Nor­way (a non­mem­ber).


The EU does not make all of the UK’s laws.

The ex­ist­ing EU leg­is­la­tion will, in the main, con­tinue to ap­ply in the event the UK leaves the EU.

The EU is per­ceived to leg­is­late in a re­stric­tive way against UK in­ter­ests. Nat­u­rally some laws will be re­stric­tive on cit­i­zens rights, as that is fun­da­men­tally a role of the law, but in many in­stances the leg­is­la­tion passed by the EU sanc­ti­fies the rights of its cit­i­zens. Such laws have in­cluded:

The pro­vi­sion of the min­i­mum wage

The pro­vi­sion of ma­ter­nity pay

The pro­vi­sion of a min­i­mum days amount of hol­i­day

Pro­tec­tion from dis­crim­i­na­tion on the grounds of dis­abil­ity, sex, gen­der, sex­u­al­ity, race etc.

The peo­ple of the EU elect their own rep­re­sen­ta­tives to the EU par­lia­ment. These peo­ple are known as MEP’s.

The fig­ure of £350 mil­lion is ar­ti­fi­cial and not rep­re­sen­ta­tive

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