Brexit and human rights inquiry

The Joint Committee on Human Rights has launched an inquiry into the human rights implications of Brexit. The three issues of particular interest to the Committee are:

  • Privacy and family life What is the potential impact of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which protects privacy and family life, on EU nationals living in the UK and UK nationals living in other EU Member states in terms of their right to stay? For example, if current residence rights are not respected, issues could arise where EU nationals are married to British citizens, or where there is a genuine and subsisting relationship between a parent and child.

  • International trade As part of the EU the UK is currently party to trade deals with human rights clauses written into them. What are the implications and how important are they? As the UK withdraws from the EU and begins to negotiate its own trade deals, what human rights requirements should it write into them? Should it model them on the current wording in EU trade deals or should the UK be setting higher standards? and
  • Other human rights protected by EU law What is the potential impact of withdrawal on other human rights protected by EU law? These include labour rights, disability rights and rights to freedom from discrimination on grounds of e.g. sexual orientation. To give just one example, in the area of children’s rights there are detailed Directives on the subjects of combating child sexual abuse, exploitation and pornography, and on combating human trafficking.

The Committee’s Press Release provides a brief summary of the background; further information may be found in the House of Commons Library briefing note Brexit: impact across policy areas, Part 12 of which highlights of some of the issues that could arise and some information about human rights obligations under EU law.

The deadline for written submissions is 10 October 2016.

Cite this article as: David Pocklington, "Brexit and human rights inquiry" in Law & Religion UK, 15 September 2016,

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