Governance and Dispute Settlement in the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol

Brexit Institute Working Paper Series No 16/2021

21 Pages Posted: 4 Jan 2022

Date Written: November 15, 2021


The Protocol on Ireland/Northern has the questionable honour of having its dispute settlement mechanisms being activated first under the new post-Brexit agreements between the EU and UK. This chapter highlights the two main hallmarks of the Protocol: on the one hand, being an integral part of the Withdrawal Agreement and the post-Brexit legal framework more broadly, and, on the other, being one of the last and most enduring holdouts of EU institutions applying EU law in a part of the UK. These characteristics, coupled with the high political stakes in the context of North-South relations in Ireland and the peace process, merit close scrutiny of the Protocol’s governance and dispute settlement provisions. Based on an analysis of the relevant provisions and informed by leading theories on compliance in international law, this chapter argues that due to fundamentally different views and strategies of the EU institutions and the UK government, the design and use of the Protocol’s mechanisms have the potential to exacerbate rather than mend EU-UK relations.

Keywords: Brexit, Compliance, Dispute Settlement, Governance, Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland, Withdrawal Agreement

Suggested Citation

Larik, Joris, Governance and Dispute Settlement in the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol (November 15, 2021). Brexit Institute Working Paper Series No 16/2021, Available at SSRN: or

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