Two things annoyed me about this webinar.

First, its participants seemed under a misapprehension as to what the #RuleofLaw actually is.

Second, there was a general misunderstanding of who international law binds, its relation with domestic law, and what should be opposed.

On the latter, it is important to acknowledge that confusion is widespread. I criticised @SuellaBraverman for it here

A brief accessible account of the meaning of the Rule of Law (which politely but devestatingly demolishes the conception of it made popular by Lord Bingham) is here.

Are we governeed by rules, promulgated in advance, or by the choices of those in power?

Whatever the objection to the Internal Market Bill may be, it isn't that it isn't rule based.

We object because they're bad rules, not because they're not rules.

If the Bill is passed *the UK* will be in breach of international law. The UK is bound by internatonal law. I'm not, you're not, Boris Johnson isn't, and nor is any government minister.

The UK is bound by international law, because such law is found in agreements between states. In this it differs from domestic law, to whihc we its subjects do not necessarily agree but where an authority posits rules.

because international legal obligations are voluntarily undertaken, it is far easier to justify why States are (morally) bound by it, than to explain why we should consider ourselves morally bound by bad rules posited by authority.

The UK, like all states, is a corporate entity. It acts through real world agents, just as Coca-Cola and Islington Council do.

So, in order to determine if it has breached the law, you have to look to the acts of real word individuals.

So, Boris Johnson and @SuellaBraverman may, through their actions, place the UK in breach of international law. We attribute their acts to the UK state.

It does *not* follow, as so many lawyers seem to be lazily assuming, that that means the duties of international law are imposed on them (nor the government, which is not the UK).

The objection to the Internal Market Bill is that it places the UK in breach of international law. Those (eg me) who oppose it must explain why we think that wrong, but are silent when the UK breaches other international law norms (and the UK is in constant breach of many).

Governments acting contrary to the #ruleoflaw are exercising power unbound by rules.

Those who park on double yellow lines are breaking a rule, but the objection is not a #ruleoflaw one.

It was disappointing that a number of great lawyers allowed their outrage to get in the way of any serious analysis.

Be better than @SuellaBraverman

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