'Climbdown' for Britain over European Union court role after Brexit

24 August, 2017, 02:28 | Author: Ora Austin
  • Mairéad Mc Guinness said Ireland's relationship with the UK will be radically changed by Brexit

On Tuesday, the British government made clear that it will no longer acknowledge the European Court of Justice (ECJ) as having direct jurisdiction over Britain post-Brexit.

Officials will claim it is neither "necessary [nor] appropriate" for the ECJ to have "direct jurisdiction" over a non-member state, adding that "there is no precedent driven by EU, UK or worldwide law" which demands that a UK-EU agreement be enforced by the European courts.

"So why are they still planning to damage our economy by taking us out of the single market when doing so will not really take back control of our laws?"

However, Justice Minister Dominic Raab said today that Britain will keep "half an eye" on European Union case law, and vice versa, after Brexit.

Prime Minister Theresa May has previously been steadfast in her insistence that European judges will have no sway over United Kingdom law once Britain departs the EU - including judges in the ECJ.

However, the European Commission insists the court should oversee the implementation of the withdrawal agreement and rights of EU citizens in the United Kingdom after Brexit.

The document is clear, though, that the ECJ will no longer have direct control over United Kingdom law after Brexit.

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It will set out a range of models already in operation to resolve disputes between the European Union and non-member states, including the EFTA Court which has jurisdiction in disputes involving Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

These include the EU's agreement with European Free Trade Association (Efta) states like Norway and Iceland, which demands that "due account" be paid to the court's rulings, and a treaty with Moldova which requires an arbitration panel to be bound by its interpretation of EU law.

When the United Kingdom agreed to the sequencing of talks it accepted the European Council's demands that separation issues would be the first topic of conversation, with future trading agreements not to be discussed until sufficient progress had been made on the former, Goodwin argued. "Ending the direct jurisdiction of the CJEU in the United Kingdom will not weaken the rights of individuals, nor call into question the UK's commitment to complying with its obligations under global agreements".

Despite the details set out in the position paper, Mrs May insisted that the United Kingdom would no longer be under the sway of European judges.

And the Institute for Government says that parliament should give a clearer steer to judges to avoid "passing the buck to the judiciary".

As Brexit supporters alleged May was abandoning the hardline position she set out in last year's Conservative Party conference speech and at Lancaster House in January, justice minister Dominic Raab conceded London would have to keep "half an eye" on ECJ rulings in the post-Brexit situation. They would be interpreted by "judges not in Luxembourg but in courts across this country".

"This paper is frustratingly vague, to the point that it barely counts as a negotiating position". It will also suggest that dispute resolution mechanisms could be tailored to the issue at stake in each agreement.

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