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The Good Friday Agreement and International Treaty Law

10 April 2023 marks 25 years since the signing of the 1998 Belfast/Good Friday Agreement. The agreement was a remarkable political and diplomatic achievement that has allowed a generation of young people to grow up in a society largely free from the worst kinds of violence that marked the conflict in Northern Ireland. The 1998 agreement is made up of a political agreement between the UK government, Irish government, and political parties in NI, alongside a bilateral treaty between the UK and the Republic of Ireland. The ‘multi-party agreement’ sets out in detail the agreement reached on NI’s constitutional status; the new NI institutions, including the Northern Ireland Assembly (in ‘Strand One’ of the multi-party agreement); North-South institutions (Strand Two); and East-West/British-Irish institutions (Strand Three). The multi-party agreement also sets out guarantees on ‘Rights, Safeguards and Equality of Opportunity’, and addresses a range of other issues, such as policing. The treaty (the ‘British-Irish Agreement’ or ‘BIA’) was signed the same day the multi-party agreement was…

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Brexit and Jersey Fishing Rights: The International Legal Status of the Crown Dependencies

Much ink has been spilled on the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union on 31 January 2020 (which was preceded by a referendum which took place on 23 June 2016, and which was followed by a transition period which ended on 31 December 2020) ("Brexit"). Brexit, whether as a matter of international law, European Union law…

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Brexit, the Irish Protocol and the ‘Versailles Effect’

What does the Treaty of Versailles have to do with Brexit, you may be asking yourself? Quite a lot I would like to suggest. But a preliminary comment is necessary. In the current state of polarized societies  and, increasingly, a polarized academy, an old-style ‘Voltairian liberal’ like myself (of the ‘I disapprove of what you say, but…

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Collaborative Governance and Dispute Resolution: EU-UK vs. EU-Switzerland

In view of current and upcoming bilateral challenges for partnership agreements between the EU and third countries, this blog post aims at analysing the dispute resolution provisions of (i) both the post-Brexit Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) and the Withdrawal Agreement (WA) between the EU and the United Kingdom (UK), and the (ii) Draft Institutional Framework Agreement (IFA)…

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The Proposed Genocide Amendment to the UK Trade Bill: Paper Tiger or Self-Inflicted Wound?

Something is distinctly off with the UK’s engagement with public international law. Whether it be the Overseas Operations Bill, which last week passed its third reading in Parliament, in which the UK proposes to introduce a ‘triple lock’ designed to significantly curtail the circumstance in which members of the UK armed forces accused of committing war…

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