Exiting the EU: Publication of Legal Advice

The Government has published and made available to Parliament, the Attorney General’s legal advice to Cabinet on the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland following the Motion passed on 04 December 2018 in the House of Commons.



This is the full, final advice that the Attorney General provided to Cabinet on 14 November on the legal effect of the Withdrawal Agreement. The release of this advice does not set a precedent for any future release of Law Officers’ advice.

An extract from the advice indicates that it could be difficult to leave the backstop arrangement:

In conclusion, the current drafting of the Protocol, including Article 19, does not provide for a mechanism that is likely to enable the UK to lawfully to exit the UK wide customs union without a subsequent agreement. This remains the case even if parties are still negotiating many years later, and even if the parties believe, that talks have clearly broken down and there is no prospect of a future relationship agreement. The resolution of such a stalemate would have to be political.

Legal Advice (copy of document)