Is Parliament ready for the challenge of scrutinising treaties post-Brexit? Lords to investigate

25 October 2018

The House of Lords Constitution Committee has today launched an inquiry into the parliamentary scrutiny of treaties and invites individuals and organisations to submit evidence.

Parliament’s current system of treaty scrutiny is limited and this role needs to be examined to ensure that it is sufficiently robust to deal with potentially many more treaties after the UK leaves the EU. 

The Committee has launched the inquiry to investigate:

  • The effectiveness of Parliament’s current treaty scrutiny
  • How other countries’ parliaments and the EU Parliament conduct treaty scrutiny
  • How and when Parliament should scrutinise government treaties after Brexit

Chairman of the Committee Baroness Taylor of Bolton said:

“After the UK leaves the EU, Parliament will likely have many more treaties to scrutinise. The Committee is determined to ensure that Parliament has the resources and capability to undertake this vital function of treaty scrutiny.

“We urge interested individuals and organisations to submit evidence to this inquiry by 6 December.”

The call for evidence questions include:

  • How effective is Parliament’s current scrutiny of treaties in both holding the Government to account and helping it get the best agreements possible?
  • What challenges does Brexit pose for Parliament’s consideration of treaties?
  • What role should Parliament have in the future in scrutinising treaties, from potentially requiring approval for the negotiating mandate through negotiations and treaty agreement?
  • Is a parliamentary treaties scrutiny committee required to examine government treaty actions post-Brexit?
  • What models of treaty scrutiny in other countries are most effective and what might the UK Parliament learn from them?
  • What role should the devolved institutions have in the negotiating and agreeing of treaties?
  • How might the government and/or Parliament best engage other stakeholders and members of the public during treaty negotiation and scrutiny?

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