Courts Surprised by Government

Lord Justice Richards has written to Prime Minister Gordon Brown to express his surprise at the Governments apparent disregard for judicial process. Gordon Brown and his Government have pressed ahead with the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty (which received Royal Assent on Thursday) while the High Court has still to deliver its judgement on the legality of ratifying the treaty without a referendum.

The Government has maintained that while the Bill has received Royal Assent it has not yet entered into force and will not do until several documents and an instrument of ratification are deposited in Rome. This formal adoption process can take place anytime up until December and the judgement of Lord Richards is expected next week.

This could of course all be a waste of time after Ireland spectacularly rejected the treaty in its recent referendum. This now means that the Irish Government cannot ratify the treaty and as EU treaties of this nature require unanimous ratification the treaty is as good as dead (unless it is magically resurrected)

Lord Richards wrote:

The court is very surprised that the government apparently proposes to ratify while the claimant’s challenge to the decision not to hold a referendum on ratification is before the court…