Biography

                                

Derrick Wyatt has been a Fellow of St. Edmund Hall and a CUF lecturer since 1978, received the title of Professor in 1996, and retired in 2009.

His teaching included EU law, constitutional and administrative law, and public international law. He was Visiting Professor of Law at Oxford 2009 - 2014, teaching the law of the EU’s internal market.

He has published numerous articles and contributions to books, served on editorial committees and boards and he co-authored Wyatt and Dashwood's European Union Law, in its various editions, the latest being its 6th edition (Hart Publishing 2011). He is a member of the International Academic Council of the Fide Fundacion. Fide is the leading legal-economic think-tank in Spain, committed to involving civil society in the discussion of major legal-economic-scientific developments; it is independent and non-partisan.

He practised (Queen's Counsel 1993) from Brick Court Chambers until 2018, specialising in litigation before the European Court of Justice and the EU General Court in Luxembourg, and in giving legal advice to businesses and governments. This involved aspects of EU law, issues of public international law, constitutional law in the UK and Cyprus, and, latterly, Brexit issues. He appeared in numerous cases before the European Courts in Luxembourg and represented and/or advised businesses in the UK, Ireland, the USA and Germany, and the Governments of the UK, Northern Ireland, and Cyprus.

Since the Brexit referendum, he has briefed the media, lawyers and financial service providers on Brexit and negotiations between the UK and the EU. He has appeared before UK Parliamentary Committees giving evidence on Brexit related issues, including the consequences of a "no-deal", and parliamentary scrutiny of the negotiation of trade agreements.

He has written for the think-tanks Policy Exchange, UK in a Changing Europe, and the Fide Fundacion, on the subjects of judicial reform, the provisional application of EU trade agreements, the threat by the UK Government to break its commitments to the EU on Northern Ireland, the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the EU and the UK, and the feasibility of an independent Scotland joining a customs union with a "New UK". He has written and presented podcasts for Fide on the economic and political implications of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement. His latest blogs for Fide and UK in a Changing Europe argue that supreme courts should join in public debate to increase their legitimacy in the democratic societies in which they operate, and that transparency is a better form of accountability than excessive involvement of politicians in the selection of judges.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Publications

Recent additions

  • D Wyatt, 'A hard Brexit and an ever closer non-union Part 2, Geography, values and necessity must come to the rescue' (2021) Fide Fundacion
    Derrick Wyatt writes that the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) which came into force between the UK and the EU on 1st January 2021 is described as a “hard” Brexit because some politicians had argued that a “soft” Brexit was possible. A soft Brexit would have meant continued participation by the UK in a customs union with the EU, and/or in the single market. Neither of these options could have been implemented in a way which would meet the needs of both the UK and the EU, and a soft Brexit was never going to happen. The TCA is a significant event, for all its inevitable shortcomings. It signals that the period when Brexit dominated the relationship between the EU and the UK is over. The UK’s largest opposition party has ruled out seeking to renegotiate the agreement if it comes to power in 2024, and it has ruled out rejoining the EU. In economic terms, the TCA is similar to trade agreements between the EU and countries such as Canada and Japan, with a number of additional features taking account of the close proximity and specific mutual interests of the EU and the UK. These features include trade relations like road haulage, energy, aviation, and digital trade, but also cover cooperation with Europol and Eurojust, and potential participation by the UK in various EU programmes. The TCA provides the basis for a viable and evolving relationship between the UK and the EU, even if it cannot begin to match the advantages of EU Membership. The TCA establishes a partnership which describes as “essential elements” the upholding of democracy, human rights and the rule of law, and cooperation in combating climate change, and countering the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. These are key commitments, serious breach of which by one party could lead to termination or suspension of the TCA by the other. The EU and the UK aim to cooperate in international forums on global issues such as peace and security, financial stability, and free and fair trade and investment. The UK will not be slow to play its part, and will wish to put behind it its recent ill-judged threat to break its commitments to the EU on Northern Ireland. The UK’s engagement with Europe is driven as much by geography, values and necessity as by the inclinations of any particular government or the contents of any particular treaty relationship. The same goes for the EU’s engagement with the UK. The President of the European Commission has said that Europe can now leave Brexit behind and look to the future. That is the mood of the UK Government too. It is time to move on. Perhaps a close non-union will prove to be moresustainable than the UK’s often half-hearted membership of the EU.
  • D Wyatt, 'Why have some UK intellectuals welcomed Brexit?' (2021) Fide Fundacion
    I was given a copy of Professor Tombs' book, "This Sovereign Isle," published in January 2021, by a friend. At one point Professor Tombs (Emeritus Professor of French History at Cambridge) argues that the Remainer narrative assumed that voting for Brexit was irrational and xenophobic, and attributes this in part to the snobbery of better off and the better educated Britons towards the working classes and to less well-off people in the UK. He describes an acquaintance at a dinner party saying that in order to understand the Brexit case she had asked her gardener and cleaner. I found this both shocking and, I am afraid, believable. It encouraged me to write a fair account of the views of two advocates of Brexit. One is Professor Tombs, and the other is Dr Andrew Lilico, an economist. I could not refrain from offering some critical comment, but the article is intended to be mainly a fair exposition of the views of Professor Tombs and Dr Lilico.I wrote this article for the Fide Fundacion, a Spanish think-tank with which I am associated.
    Professor Tombs is, broadly speaking, a critic of the EU and of the euro. His key criticisms are the failure of democracy in the EU system, and the unfair and adverse impact of the euro on some Member States..He does not think that the UK has ever benefited economically from EEC/EC/ EU Membership. He argues that Brexit was essential to allow the UK to regain its freedom to make its own laws. In one sense Dr Lilico is not actually a critic of the EU, and his criticism of the euro has been criticism of the way it has been managed. He thinks the UK has in the past benefited enormously from EU membership, and that the UK has influenced for the better the evolution of the EU.But he thinks that the days of mutual advantage are over, that continued UK membership of the EU would benefit neither the EU or the UK, and that the time had come for a parting of the ways.
  • D Wyatt, 'A customs Union between an Independent Scotland and a "New UK"' (2021) UK in a Changing Europe
    A second referendum on Scottish independence is unlikely to be held soon, but nor can it be forever postponed. The independence promised to Scots in Indyref2 is likely to involve EU Membership, and a new Scottish currency. On this prospectus, an independent Scotland - which I’ll call ISCT - would mean a hard customs border with the rest of the UK - which I’ll call New UK (NUK). But a customs border would not be inevitable for ISCT, if ISCT, instead of seeking EU membership, entered into a customs union with NUK. This would make more economic sense to ISCT anyway, since it exports three times as much to the UK Single Market as it does to the EU Single Market. The article examines the feasibility of a customs union between ISCT and NUK. ISCT and NUK could agree to apply the same tariffs on imports from foreign countries, and mutual recognition of health standards, without the need for EU-style harmonisation. ISCT and NUK could act jointly in negotiating trade agreements with foreign partners. NUK would have a voice in the negotiations which reflected its share of the total market on offer to a new trading partner, but on some issues (such as fishing opportunities) each country would negotiate independently. For imports of products of particular sensitivity to the Scottish economy, ISCT negotiators could place restrictions on access to the Scottish retail market which would not involve tariffs on imports and would be consistent with the ISCT/NUK customs union. A customs union along these lines would give ISCT a greater say in negotiating trade agreements in tandem with NUK than it would have in the EU where the EU would negotiate on its behalf.

Internet Publication (7)

D Wyatt, 'A customs Union between an Independent Scotland and a "New UK"' (2021) UK in a Changing Europe
A second referendum on Scottish independence is unlikely to be held soon, but nor can it be forever postponed. The independence promised to Scots in Indyref2 is likely to involve EU Membership, and a new Scottish currency. On this prospectus, an independent Scotland - which I’ll call ISCT - would mean a hard customs border with the rest of the UK - which I’ll call New UK (NUK). But a customs border would not be inevitable for ISCT, if ISCT, instead of seeking EU membership, entered into a customs union with NUK. This would make more economic sense to ISCT anyway, since it exports three times as much to the UK Single Market as it does to the EU Single Market. The article examines the feasibility of a customs union between ISCT and NUK. ISCT and NUK could agree to apply the same tariffs on imports from foreign countries, and mutual recognition of health standards, without the need for EU-style harmonisation. ISCT and NUK could act jointly in negotiating trade agreements with foreign partners. NUK would have a voice in the negotiations which reflected its share of the total market on offer to a new trading partner, but on some issues (such as fishing opportunities) each country would negotiate independently. For imports of products of particular sensitivity to the Scottish economy, ISCT negotiators could place restrictions on access to the Scottish retail market which would not involve tariffs on imports and would be consistent with the ISCT/NUK customs union. A customs union along these lines would give ISCT a greater say in negotiating trade agreements in tandem with NUK than it would have in the EU where the EU would negotiate on its behalf.
D Wyatt, 'A hard Brexit and an ever closer non-union Part 2, Geography, values and necessity must come to the rescue' (2021) Fide Fundacion
Derrick Wyatt writes that the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) which came into force between the UK and the EU on 1st January 2021 is described as a “hard” Brexit because some politicians had argued that a “soft” Brexit was possible. A soft Brexit would have meant continued participation by the UK in a customs union with the EU, and/or in the single market. Neither of these options could have been implemented in a way which would meet the needs of both the UK and the EU, and a soft Brexit was never going to happen. The TCA is a significant event, for all its inevitable shortcomings. It signals that the period when Brexit dominated the relationship between the EU and the UK is over. The UK’s largest opposition party has ruled out seeking to renegotiate the agreement if it comes to power in 2024, and it has ruled out rejoining the EU. In economic terms, the TCA is similar to trade agreements between the EU and countries such as Canada and Japan, with a number of additional features taking account of the close proximity and specific mutual interests of the EU and the UK. These features include trade relations like road haulage, energy, aviation, and digital trade, but also cover cooperation with Europol and Eurojust, and potential participation by the UK in various EU programmes. The TCA provides the basis for a viable and evolving relationship between the UK and the EU, even if it cannot begin to match the advantages of EU Membership. The TCA establishes a partnership which describes as “essential elements” the upholding of democracy, human rights and the rule of law, and cooperation in combating climate change, and countering the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. These are key commitments, serious breach of which by one party could lead to termination or suspension of the TCA by the other. The EU and the UK aim to cooperate in international forums on global issues such as peace and security, financial stability, and free and fair trade and investment. The UK will not be slow to play its part, and will wish to put behind it its recent ill-judged threat to break its commitments to the EU on Northern Ireland. The UK’s engagement with Europe is driven as much by geography, values and necessity as by the inclinations of any particular government or the contents of any particular treaty relationship. The same goes for the EU’s engagement with the UK. The President of the European Commission has said that Europe can now leave Brexit behind and look to the future. That is the mood of the UK Government too. It is time to move on. Perhaps a close non-union will prove to be moresustainable than the UK’s often half-hearted membership of the EU.
D Wyatt, 'Supreme courts should join in public debate to increase their legitimacy' (2021) Fide Fundacion
It is time for supreme courts to follow the lead of the German Constitutional Court, and join in public debate when their judgments hit the headlines. The same goes for the European Court of Justice (ECJ). It is part of the job of these courts to make the law as well as to interpret it, but the challenge is to legitimize this role in democratic societies. Transparency works for central banks, and it could work for supreme courts too. Transparency is a better form of accountability than excessive involvement of politicians in the selection of judges.
D Wyatt, 'Why have some UK intellectuals welcomed Brexit?' (2021) Fide Fundacion
I was given a copy of Professor Tombs' book, "This Sovereign Isle," published in January 2021, by a friend. At one point Professor Tombs (Emeritus Professor of French History at Cambridge) argues that the Remainer narrative assumed that voting for Brexit was irrational and xenophobic, and attributes this in part to the snobbery of better off and the better educated Britons towards the working classes and to less well-off people in the UK. He describes an acquaintance at a dinner party saying that in order to understand the Brexit case she had asked her gardener and cleaner. I found this both shocking and, I am afraid, believable. It encouraged me to write a fair account of the views of two advocates of Brexit. One is Professor Tombs, and the other is Dr Andrew Lilico, an economist. I could not refrain from offering some critical comment, but the article is intended to be mainly a fair exposition of the views of Professor Tombs and Dr Lilico.I wrote this article for the Fide Fundacion, a Spanish think-tank with which I am associated.
Professor Tombs is, broadly speaking, a critic of the EU and of the euro. His key criticisms are the failure of democracy in the EU system, and the unfair and adverse impact of the euro on some Member States..He does not think that the UK has ever benefited economically from EEC/EC/ EU Membership. He argues that Brexit was essential to allow the UK to regain its freedom to make its own laws. In one sense Dr Lilico is not actually a critic of the EU, and his criticism of the euro has been criticism of the way it has been managed. He thinks the UK has in the past benefited enormously from EU membership, and that the UK has influenced for the better the evolution of the EU.But he thinks that the days of mutual advantage are over, that continued UK membership of the EU would benefit neither the EU or the UK, and that the time had come for a parting of the ways.
D Wyatt, 'A hard Brexit and an ever closer non-union Part 1, Summary' (2020) Fide Fundacion
Derrick Wyatt writes in this first part of a two-part article for FIDe that a Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the EU and the UK was agreed in principle only a week before the scheduled departure of the UK from the customs union on 1st January 2021. In the short term, the expectation is of confusion and disruption on both sides of the Channel. The deal provides only a shadow of the economic benefits that continued EU membership would have offered. But a soft Brexit was never going to happen, for hard-headed reasons often lost sight of in the years of debate after the Brexit referendum. The agreement was backed in the UK Parliament on 30th December by the UK’s Labour opposition, reluctantly and because the only alternative was a no-deal. When the dust settles, the deal will bring some element of closure to the remain/leave debate (apart from in Scotland), and provide a platform for the UK and the EU to start repairing their bruised political relationship. The UK Government’s quest for a “Global Britain” should not let it forget that Europe still matters to the UK, and the early signs are that the Johnson Government has taken this to heart. The agreement itself foreshadows further agreements between the UK and the EU, and “global cooperation” on a wide range of issues including peace and security and climate change. Boris Johnson has declared that the UK will be the “best friend and ally that the EU could have”, and one of his senior Ministers has referred to a “special relationship”. An ever closer non-union?
D Wyatt, 'Is the UK Government serious about breaking international law, and risking a trade war with the EU? ' (2020) Fide Fundacion
In this article published in September 2020 I asked whether the UK Government was risking a trade war with the EU by breaking its commitments on Northern Ireland. I examined the (very limited) options open to the EU in international law at the time if the UK broke the Withdrawal Agreement. Since I wrote this article, the UK Government has unilaterally postponed application of the Northern Ireland Protocol, and the European Commission has initiated legal proceedings against the UK. The EU now has the additional option of suspending performance of parts of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement in retaliation for (I summarise) a sufficiently serious breach of the Northern Ireland Protocol.
D Wyatt, 'What happens if there is a last-minute Brexit trade agreement?' (2020) UK in a Changing Europe
This commentary examines the EU procedures for ratification of a trade agreement with third countries, examining in particular the possibility of provisional application of the trade agreement between the EU and the UK which at the time of writing (November 2020) had yet to be agreed, and which at the present time (Marrch 2021) has yet to be approved by the European Parliament and concluded by the EU Council.

Book (1)

D Wyatt, Wyatt and Dashwood's European Union Law (6th edn Hart Publishing 2011)
In Wyatt and Dashwood's European Union Law, Derrick Wyatt is responsible in particular for the chapters and sections on The Right of Establishment and the Freedom to Provide Services; Corporate Establishment, Cross-Border Acquisitions, Capital Movement (direct investment), and Golden and Special Shares; Company Law Harmonisation (including the European Company Statute, Merger Directive, Takeover Bids Directive etc) ; The Legal Effects of International Agreements; Intellectual Property Rights in the EU, including effects on trade in goods, exhaustion of patent, copyright and trade mark rights, etc.

Interests!

Q.C. 1993. Occasional legal practice, principally before the Court of Justice of the European Communities.

Research Interests

European Union Law, International Law, Constitutional Law.

Research projects