Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

With or Without EU? The Common Travel Area after Brexit

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Sylvia de Mars, Professor Colin MurrayORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) concluded between the UK and Ireland in May 2019 provides one of the few clear legacies of Theresa May’s premiership. The Common Travel Area (CTA) between Ireland, the UK, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man has long lacked legal definition. Nonetheless, for decades, it has provided the basis for domestic immigration and nationality laws which permit Irish citizens to reside in the UK and for them to be treated as ‘not-foreign’ in the context of UK domestic laws concerning access to healthcare, employment, social security, political participation and education. The UK and Ireland reciprocate, to a rough extent, these rights for each other’s citizens. The MoU and related developments are first steps towards clarifying the CTA’s scope. The manner in which this MoU was concluded, and the rush to alter parts of the UK’s domestic law relating to the CTA, nonetheless speak to the fragile state of Ireland/UK relations after the Brexit referendum. This article explores whether these reforms will enable individuals reliant upon the CTA to protect their interests through litigation, and reflects upon the relationship between these arrangements and the settled-status rights proposed for EU citizens under the UK-EU Withdrawal Agreement.

Publication metadata

Author(s): de Mars S, Murray C

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: German Law Journal

Year: 2020

Volume: 21

Issue: 5

Pages: 815-837

Online publication date: 01/07/2020

Acceptance date: 14/08/2019

Date deposited: 14/08/2019

ISSN (electronic): 2071-8322

Publisher: Cambridge University Press


DOI: 10.1017/glj.2020.46


Altmetrics provided by Altmetric


Funder referenceFunder name