PUBLISHED: 10:24, Fri, Sep 18, 2020 | UPDATED: 10:33, Fri, Sep 18, 2020
The controversial legislation passed its second reading in the House of Commons last week, with Prime Minister Mr Johnson insisting it was necessary to preserve the "integrity" of the United Kingdom. However, Brussels is furious because the bill would offer a legal instrument whereby the UK Government could override some aspects of the Withdrawal Agreement relating to the Northern Ireland Protocol.
Speaking last week, an EU spokesman said: "The Withdrawal Agreement contains a number of mechanisms and legal remedies to address violations of the legal obligations contained in the text – which the European Union will not be shy in using."
David Collins, Professor of International Economic Law at City, University of London, said the situation had the potential to turn into a long-drawn out process.
Under Article 169(1) of the Withdrawal Agreement, both parties must communicate the existence of a dispute to the Joint Committee, a political body where they can make joint decisions, he explained.
Any legal wrangle could go on for years, said Professor Collins (Image: GETTY)
Boris Johnson believes the Northern Ireland Protocol threatens the intregrity of the UK (Image: GETTY)
He added: "An arbitration panel can only be requested after 3 months of unsuccessful Joint Committee talks.
"Since there no list of arbitrators yet, the EU and the UK have three months to agree on arbitrators.
"Otherwise, the Secretary General of Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA-CPA) appoints arbitrators."
However, Prof Collins said there was a problem because the WA only provided for the involvement of the PCA-CPA, which is based in the Hague, for minor disputes arising after the transition period, as opposed to a complete breakdown in negotiations.
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European Court of Justice in the Hague (Image: GETTY)
He added: "It’s important to recognise that Article 168 of the WA provides that disputes under WA can only be solved by WA means.
"This means in principle that unilateral