Government’s post-Brexit blueprint raises more questions than answers


The government sketched out plans for the UK’s future relationship with the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in one of its post-Brexit ‘position papers’.

In Enforcement and dispute resolution: a future partnership paper, the government said: ‘In leaving the European Union, we will bring about an end to the direct jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU).

‘The UK and the EU need therefore to agree on how both the provisions of the Withdrawal Agreement, and our new deep and special partnership, can be monitored and implemented to the satisfaction of both sides, and how any disputes which arise can be resolved.’

The paper said the UK wants to: maximise certainty for individuals and businesses; ensure that they can effectively enforce their rights in a timely way; respect the autonomy of EU law and UK legal systems while taking control of our own laws; and continue to respect our international obligations.

It said that the UK will ‘take steps to implement and enforce our agreements with the EU within our domestic legal context’, including providing ‘the appropriate means’ by which individuals and businesses can rely on and enforce rights contained in any agreements, underpinned by the creation of international law obligations which will flow from our agreements with the EU.

Among the options, it seemed to envisage an arrangement similar to the court used by the countries in the European Free Trade Association.

Responding to the paper, the Bar Chair, Andrew Langdon QC, said: ‘The paper raises more questions than it seeks to answer on what is a matter of crucial significance to the UK.’

Langdon said: ‘A number of suggested alternatemechanisms to the CJEU are listed,though it is not clearwhich, if any, thegovernment favours.’

He stressed: ‘Whatever agreement the UK reaches with the EU, there must be some form of dispute resolution process with the EU post-Brexit in which all parties haveconfidence.

‘There are important regulatory, economic and rights-based reasons for ensuring legal certainty which underline the ongoing relevance of the CJEU case law post March 2019.’

He also warned that the EU Withdrawal Bill was a ‘recipe for confusion’ that will leave UK citizens and businesses with less protection against the power of the state.

 

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