12 December 2018
Dr Mario Mendez, Reader in Law at Queen Mary University, acted as a witness at the Parliamentary Scrutiny of Treaties by the House of Lords. He provided oral and written evidence to the Select Committee on the Constitution, along with two other academics.
Parliament currently has few procedures or mechanisms for scrutinising the government's treaty actions, and its role needs to be re-examined to ensure that it is sufficiently robust to deal with potentially many more treaties.
For this inquiry, the Committee is interested in: the effectiveness of Parliament's current treaty role; how other countries' parliaments and the EU Parliament conduct treaty scrutiny; and, how and when Parliament should scrutinise government’s negotiating of and agreement to treaties after Brexit.
Dr Mendez said: "Treaties are doing very different things today from what they were doing in, for example, 1924. They reach into all aspects of our daily lives in a way that they did not in 1924. So it seems to me that we should start from the premise that the rule that originally emerged in 1924 applied to, essentially, the range of what was then the remit of treaty-making, and we should recognise that today that remit has radically transformed, leading to all manner of controversial things that are done by treaties—the common focus today is on trade agreements and the ever-expanding areas they regulate."