The Territorial Constitution and the Brexit Process – Current Legal Problems – article

The Territorial Constitution and the Brexit Process

Stephen Tierney | Current Legal Problems


This article assesses the United Kingdom’s rapidly evolving territorial constitution through the register of federal theory. While not arguing that the UK is federal or ought to be described as federal, the article contends that federalism is a useful prism through which to assess how well the UK’s constitution accommodates autonomy on the one hand and the efficacy of union, which is the essential complement of pluralism, on the other. It then proceeds to assess the Brexit process in light of existing imbalances in the UK’s territorial arrangements. The way in which Parliament has paved the way for the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU is widely considered to be deeply unpropitious for devolution. However, upon further analysis of the legal changes and internal political commitments that have been designed to facilitate Brexit, it would appear that a more balanced set of constitutional arrangements may be emerging which could in fact bolster and further embed the United Kingdom’s territorial constitutional commitments.


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