On Friday, Prominent human rights lawyer Amal Clooney resigned her post as a UK envoy for media freedom, in protest at the government’s lamentable decision to breach its EU divorce treaty.
Clooney became the third lawyer to part ways with Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government, after it introduced legislation that would rewrite its post-Brexit obligations to the European Union over Northern Ireland.
Undermining the rule of law “threatens to embolden autocratic regimes that violate international law with devastating consequences all over the world”, she wrote in a letter to Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and seen by AFP.
Although the government has suggested that the violation of international law would be specific and limited, it is lamentable for the UK to be speaking of its intention to violate an international treaty signed by the prime minister less than a year ago.
She wrote: “I accepted the role because I believe in the importance of the cause, and appreciate the significant role that the UK has played and can continue to play in promoting the international legal order.”
“However, very sadly, it has now become untenable for me, as special envoy, to urge other states to respect and enforce international obligations while the UK declares that it does not intend to do so itself.”
While conceding the UK internal market bill violates the EU Withdrawal Agreement, the government argues it is needed to protect the country’s territorial integrity in case the EU seeks to unfairly impede trade with Northern Ireland.
The argument has failed to persuade two other jurists who have quit their government roles recently including its most senior law officer for Scotland, Richard Keen.