12 Mar 2019
"Best endeavours" clauses and the concept of "good faith" are used when parties either cannot, or will not, accept an absolute obligation to deliver a particular result. Even if one party is found not to have tried hard enough, or to have fallen short of the requirement of "good faith", that does not automatically mean that the other can simply walk away. Article 178 of the Withdrawal Agreement (WA) merely provides that if either the EU or the UK is found to have acted in breach of those obligations, then there would be a temporary suspension of parts of the agreement while further negotiations take place. There is no provision for unilateral termination of the WA, or of the "backstop" provided by the Northern Ireland protocol, should that come into effect. From a legal perspective, that position remains essentially unchanged by the additional documents that emerged from the Strasbourg talks on 11 March.