No5 Chambers’ Barristers comment on potential impact of Brexit on Human Rights

Thu, 23 Jun 2016

Manjit Gill, QC and S Chelvan, have commented on the impact of Brexit on human rights in the UK, specifically with respect to LGBT rights.  Patrick Strudwick's article “Brexit Could Trigger Erosion of LGBT Rights, Top Lawyers Fear”, published last night on the Buzzfeed News website, highlighted the fears of top human rights lawyers on the potential impact of Brexit following today’s EU referendum vote.

Mr Gill QC, commenting on the potential impacts of a Brexit on human rights in the United Kingdom, drew attention to the positive contribution made by EU law particularly in the areas of workers’ rights and anti-discrimination law.  He said:

“Brexit may well give rise to negative impacts on human rights in the context of various fields such as employment, discrimination, and a range of socio-economic rights. Citizens of the Unite Kingdom will also be deprived of the huge potential for development that is contained in the Charter of Fundamental Rights.

It is however unrealistic to suggest that there will be damaging impacts on the gains made in relation to same-sex marriage, at least in the short term; the impact on broader spousal rights over the longer term is unclear.

There is however a wider issue. Where fundamental rights are concerned, EU law is embedded in, and to be seen as a part of, a greater fabric of international law. And therefore, a lot of other principles of international law that have a positive impact on our domestic law, via EU law are likely to be lost. So to Brexit would potentially put that sort of development in jeopardy. It would slow it down.”

Mr Gill added: “If you break away from international law principles there is the danger you start adopting narrow, parochial, municipal approaches to your law, which tend to stultify its growth.”

S Chelvan made clear the positive impact EU law has had with respect to the protection of LGBT asylum-seekers and refugees, stating, “It’s only because of the Court of Justice that clear guidance [exists] making sure that LGBTQI refugees are treated humanely.  Exiting the EU could lead to the introduction of procedures that would be damaging and harmful to those seeking refugee status on the basis of gender or sexual identity.”

Click here to read the article reported in BuzzFeed.

Manjit Gill QC and S Chelvan are part of the Public Law Group at No5 Chambers.

Please click here to view Manjit Gill QC's profile and here for S Chelvan.

These are the views of No5 barristers Manjit Gill QC and S Chelvan and they do not represent the views of No5 Chambers as a whole.

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