That is what the UK’s new draft law does to Brexit agreement with the EU, by disregarding the Northern Ireland protocol
The Johnson-led government’s Internal Market Bill, which “reinterprets the arrangements for Northern Ireland under the Brexit agreement with the EU” will break international law.
What if there is a contract and then one party unilaterally changes it? That may not only be legally challenge-able, it would perhaps make everybody else wary of entering into a contract with mala-fide party. That is exactly what stares the UK in the face, thanks to the Boris Johnson-led Conservative government introducing a Bill giving itself powers to fundamentally alter an area over which it has already ended negotiations with the European Union as part of the Brexit agreement.
The Johnson-led government’s Internal Market Bill, which “reinterprets the arrangements for Northern Ireland under the Brexit agreement with the EU” will break international law. What’s more, the government even admitted this in the House of Commons—the Northern Ireland secretary told the UK parliament that the Bill “does break international law in a very specific and limited way” and that the government was “taking the powers to disapply the EU law concept of direct effect”.
Experts believe the move could bury Brexit talks, which had only recently restarted, apart from having implications for how the global community views the UK’s trustworthiness.
Indeed, the move is considered so questionable that three former Conservative prime ministers, including Johnson’s immediate predecessors (in that order) Theresa May and David Cameron, have come out against the move. While party members and government committee members have voiced strong opposition, the Johnson administration nevertheless seems quite intent upon it—indeed, the text of the draft legislation bluntly says that the Bill’s provisions “are not to be regarded as unlawful on the grounds of any incompatibility or inconsistency with relevant international or domestic law…”
How this affects the Brexit talks remain to be seen, but what this does is set a precedent for countries to walk out of all manner of international agreements.