Jill Barrett’s witness evidence cited in ‘Parliamentary Scrutiny of International Agreements in the 21st century’

February 1, 2024

Jill Barrett

Parliament’s report on ‘Parliamentary Scrutiny of International Agreements in the 21st century’, published 29th January, cites Jill Barrett’s witness evidence.

On 29 January 2024 the House of Commons’ Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee published its conclusions on the future of Treaty Scrutiny in Parliament. The Committee concludes ‘Parliament must be given the opportunity to give its express approval to all treaties before they can be ratified or enter into force.’ and recommends new legislation to give effect to the principle that ‘the House of Commons must indicate its explicit approval of international agreements for them to bind the UK’. This would be a radical change from the present system which requires only inaction from Parliament.

Jill’s evidence is quoted extensively in six parts of the Committee’s report, accessible here.

The Committee began its 2-year Inquiry began by taking oral evidence from Jill and two other treaty experts.

Jill was Legal Counsellor at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for 20 years and while at the FCO, she negotiated, drafted and advised on numerous treaties and supervised the FCO Treaty Section’s handling of treaty procedures and parliamentary process. During 2008-10 she led the Government’s work on Part 2 of the Constitutional and Governance Act 2010 on Ratification of Treaties. She is co-author of the Handbook on Good Treaty Practice published by Cambridge University Press in 2020. She has been invited to give evidence to a number of parliamentary inquiries on treaties and treaty scrutiny (see here). She provides training courses to government lawyers in treaty law and practice, at the Government Legal Service and the Scottish and Welsh governments, as well as overseas.