London keen to maintain European Union accord over civil court cases

Aug 24, 2017, 02:39
London keen to maintain European Union accord over civil court cases

Theresa May insisted that Britain will no longer be bound by rulings of the European Court of Justice after Brexit, but a government position paper has left open the possibility of European judges still having some say over United Kingdom legal matters.

The paper does not rule out that the European Union court would maintain its authority over the UK during the transitional period after the UK's exit in March 2019 and said: "The UK will work with the European Union on the design of the interim period, including the arrangements for judicial supervision, enforcement and dispute resolution".

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. Pro-Brexit lawmakers say the European court has sucked power from Britain's courts and parliament.

"David Davis described the paper as "[Helping] give businesses and consumers certainty and confidence in the UK's status as an economic powerhouse after we have left the EU.

Technically, the language used in the government's position papers is consistent with what Theresa May has said about the ECJ in the past.

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British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: "The government is clearly backtracking on its earlier red lines and saying there has to be some form of dispute resolution through some form of judicial process and that's obviously the case and we've indeed said that all along".

If so, then the British would not have entirely "taken back control" of their own laws.

In a position paper on cross-border civil judicial cooperation, the government stressed both sides' dependency.

The plans published by Brexit Secretary David Davis were welcomed by business leaders as an improvement on European Union proposals which would require separate regulatory processes on either side of the Channel from the day after United Kingdom withdrawal.

"This provides greater certainty for claimants but means that where member states' courts have, after March 2019 but in proceedings instituted earlier, handed down decisions influenced by rulings of the CJEU, the United Kingdom will have to recognise such member state court decisions and will thereby implicitly be recognising CJEU jurisprudence".

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May said breaking free of the ECJ's jurisdiction meant that Britain would be able to make its own laws and British judges and courts would enforce them.

The European Commission has said "sufficient progress" must be made in talks on citizens' rights, the Irish border, and the UK's financial obligations to the EU before commencing talks on trade.

"The repeated reference to ending the "direct jurisdiction" of the ECJ is potentially significant".

The Government's ongoing legal dispute with ClientEarth over the UK's worsening air quality crisis is cited as an example of the practical need for oversight of environmental standards.

Theresa May has stated firmly Britain will "take back control" of its laws in a keynote speech.

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