Forgetting Human Rights - The Brexit Debate

(2017) 5 E.H.R.L.R 469-479

Posted: 25 Apr 2017 Last revised: 18 Oct 2017

See all articles by Adrienne Yong

Adrienne Yong

The City Law School of City University London

Date Written: September 5, 2017


This article considers the implications of the UK’s vote to leave the EU in relation to the fundamental rights of EU citizens. The possible consequences for individual rights protection are examined in light of UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s decision to formally trigger art.50 of the TEU, the government’s paper on “Safeguarding the Position of EU Citizens Living in the UK and UK Nationals Living in the EU” and the recently published European Union (Withdrawal) Bill. This article intends to highlight an issue that has seemingly been set aside amidst the chaotic developments related to Brexit—the protection of fundamental human rights. The article’s central argument is twofold. First, the article contends that the UK Government currently risks potentially breaching several substantive provisions contained within the European Convention on Human Rights because a satisfactory regime of rights protection for EU citizens living in the UK, or British citizens in other EU Member States, has not yet been clearly established. Secondly, the plan to exclude the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights must be seriously reconsidered. The Charter currently provides the strongest level of protection for certain human rights in Europe, and it is argued that it cannot be so easily sacrificed. The UK, irrespective of Brexit, must be serious about its commitment to the protection of human rights.

Keywords: EU Law, EU Citizenship, Brexit, Human Rights, ECHR, Charter, Repeal Bill

Suggested Citation

Yong, Adrienne, Forgetting Human Rights - The Brexit Debate (September 5, 2017). (2017) 5 E.H.R.L.R 469-479 , Available at SSRN:

Adrienne Yong (Contact Author)

The City Law School of City University London ( email )

London, EC1V OHB
United Kingdom

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