Introduction by Professor Harold Hongju Koh
“Breaking up is Hard to Do,” the song goes, and for graphic proof, we need look no further than the United Kingdom’s June 23, 2016 referendum to leave the European Union. “Brexit”– as that event and the shock wave it spawned has come to be known – has already had seismic consequences. To start our in-house discussion here at Yale Law School, we convened a reading and discussion group in Fall 2016, where interested students and faculty could learn, discuss, and write about legal topics of interest to them with notable guests: European diplomats, legal advisers, law professors and litigants. The weekly sessions only exposed how many legal tendrils Brexit has, and just how much opening this Pandora’s Box has unleashed.
The Yale Journal of International Law’s online “Brexit and the Law” symposium offers three thoughtful investigations into how the United Kingdom and the European Union can cope with Brexit in three intensively human areas. Exploring how Brexit will affect critical medicines, data privacy, and children seeking asylum, Kyle Edwards, Brian Mund, and Victoria Roeck investigate the problems unleashed by the proposed withdrawal from the European Union, the inadequacies of existing mechanisms to address those problems, and the need for creative and intensive negotiation to develop acceptable safety nets going forward. In short, in record time, “Brexit Law” has become its own rapidly changing legal field. These investigations contribute to it, and YJIL’s “Forum” publication format seems perfectly suited to exposing and educating us about problems that we had not previously thought about deeply.
“It ain’t over ‘til its over,” the late philosopher Yogi Berra famously said. So until Brexit is fully behind us, we hope this online symposium format can spark many probing “acblog” (academic weblog”) investigations and discussions of a wide range of challenging Brexit issues.
Harold Hongju Koh, Sterling Professor of International Law, Yale Law School
Written by Kyle Edwards
Written by Brian Mund
Written by Victoria Roeck