On Article 692

Paul Cotterill
3 min readNov 16, 2023


One intriguing thing about article 692 of the UK-EU Trade & Cooperation Agreement 2020, which may become vital if the UK does seek to depart from the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) in some way, is that the header for the article is entirely different (Dénonciation vs Termination) in the French & English official versions.

Here’s the English.

Here’s the French.

The reason article 692 may become vital is that, in the event that the UK “denounces” the ECHR in a way the UK govt may find necessary if it is to keep blundering on with its Rwanda agreement stupidity. the article provides for a ‘no ifs, no buts’ termination, within 15 days, of the part of the overall Trade & Cooperation Agreement dealing with policing an security cooperation.

That’s serious stuff. Not only would that terminate agreements on cross-border arrest warrants etc., it would also bring an end to the current procedures by airlines to share passenger lists and details with countries their planes land in; with those procedures no longer lawful under EU law (and probably UK data law), that could simply put an end to air travel between the UK and any EU country (other travel modes appear in different parts of the 2020 Agreement so would not automatically be affected).

Two things seem likely enough.

First, the EU negotiators and drafters inserted this ‘nuclear’ clause about 15 days because they had a sense of where the UK might be headed, and decided it would be handy to have a legislative tool to use at the last. In all associated likelihood, I suspect the UK never even noticed.

Second, it feels as the article was drafted in French and then translated into English. “Dénonciation” has a somewhat wider meaning than “denunciation”, and the use of “denounced” in the English text does feel a bit unnatural. In French, the word gives off a vibe of ‘terminating/giving up on something because it’s a bad idea’, while in English it just means ‘stating it’s a bad thing’.

In turn, I think this leads to the different headers used which, while they probably don’t as such have legal force as Agreement text, do give a sense of what the different emphases in the different versions, with the English version focused on the orderly termination conceived in para 1 of the article (where the concept of denunciation does not arise), while the French version zooms in on the potential for the UK doing something utterly fucking stupid, just as Sunak is now threatening, to the exent that the header is all about para 2.

All intriguing, as I say, and I never thought I’d see something like this in an international legal agreement. Mind you, I never thought I’d see a UK government as bad as this one

FWIW, while I’ve not checked all the languages — I’m not that sad — the German version goes with ‘Beendung’ for header, following the English emphasis, while the Italian and Spanish both go with ‘Denuncia’, following the French.



Paul Cotterill

Secretary General, Habermasian Labour (UK). Indefatigably focused on the promotion of ethical discourse in the public sphere, except when there's cricket.