Honouring Treaty Obligations

Suggested constitution clause:

'The [UK] will negotiate treaties with other nations in good faith and will honour all of it's obligations under treaties (whether entered into before or after the coming into force of this constitution). The Prime Minister will report to Parliament on annual basis regarding the [UK]'s compliance with this provision.'

Idea behind the draft clause:

If the UK signs up to a treaty with other nations, it must honour its commitments under that treaty whilst it remains in force. This commitment should be made explicit in the constitution, to dissuade UK governments from making promises that they cannot or do not intend to fulfil and from reneging on promises; and to give other nations confidence in their dealings with the UK. 

edited on Apr 11, 2015 by Ian Smith

Ian Smith Apr 5, 2015

Dear All,

I am posting a quick comment here and in my other ideas.

Firstly, I want to say how much I have enjoyed seeing all of your contributions on this and other ideas and how impressed I am with the range of expertise and erudition which has filled these debates.

Secondly, I wish to put forward a couple of suggestions as to a way forward at this stage.  They are:

A.   I suggest that we all refrain from further voting until the ideas have been refined and represented and have then been debated for a while.  My thinking here is that we will want to see the reshaped ideas and see the comments on those refined ideas before we decide whether they are to be voted up or down,  I do not think that we should refrain from voting on comments but perhaps try not to vote too hastily on them.

B.  Now that the hurly burly of the "Hacking" phase (some of it quite savage) has passed, I hope and wish that we will adopt a more collaborative and less combative approach in our commentary, so that commentary is given a chance to be constructive and really do the job of refining the ideas in question.

C.  I would hope that we can refrain from attacking the very existence of the idea under discussion in this phase or the fact that it has successfully gone through to this phase against the wishes of those who voted it down.  I sincerely hope that the previous critics of an idea, will still respect that it found favour with the crowd and now help to refine the idea in this phase.

Thirdly, I will try my best not to introduce any more typos and mangled phrases! 

Best wishes for the holiday weekend!


laure roux Apr 8, 2015

here is an idea that was posted by aliceshaw94: https://constitutionuk.com/category/2849#/post/84632

it simply mention that the UK constitution should be drafted in a way compatible with interntional treaties, and she make a special case for the UK being compatible with EU treaties, and that the current state of affairs EU/UK should echo in the constitution.

I think when you talk about treaty obligation, mentionning as an introductory remark to the internaitonal relation section that the UK will act in a way compatible with its current treaty obligation, and will not in its constitution draft provision incompatible with them could be a good thing? Maybe adding this in your current idea would be interesting.

Users tagged:

Ian Smith Apr 8, 2015

How about this as a clause;

'The [UK] will negotiate treaties with other nations in good faith and will honour all of it's obligations under those treaties.'

laure roux Apr 11, 2015

Considering that several international treaties command the responsability of countries arising out of a failure to fulfil international obligation I think it is enough to stick to this simple idea. I thought at first that we could have add something about " a failure to do so will result in sanctions" but then i don't have enough knowledge to really explain what these sanctions could be, For me this looks good.

Has anyone got something to add?

Rob G Apr 11, 2015

I think the problem with the way it stands at the moment is it's a bit "Motherhood and Apple Pie"...

I'm not sure what the proposed penalty within the jurisdiction would be if a government failed to honour an obligation. At the moment, it looks like it's just the embarrassment of a court slapping the government's wrists...? But I'm also not sure I want the courts getting involved in litigation about this sort of thing. (Who'd have standing, for one thing?)

Maybe add a provision along the lines

"The Prime Minister will report to Parliament on annual basis regarding the UK's compliance with this provision." ? A little like the US Constitution's requirement for a "State of the Union" report.

Ian Smith Apr 11, 2015

Why not!  Thanks, Ian