Accept a post-Brexit role for European Court of Justice, MPs tell UK Government

Written by Josh May on 22 March 2017 in News

The House of Commons Justice Committee has suggested a role for the court would be a “price worth paying”

European Court of Justice - Image credit: PA Images

The UK Government should be prepared to accept the continued jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in some areas after the UK has left the EU, a cross-party group of MPs has said. 

The House of Commons Justice Committee said retaining a role for the court over procedural issues was a “price worth paying” to maintain the UK’s prominence as a centre for commercial law and to prevent barriers hindering the resolution of cross-border family disputes.

Theresa May pledged to “bring an end to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice” in her speech setting out her priorities for Brexit.


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The MPs highlighted the importance of cross-border working to the £25.7bn legal services sector.

They said the UK Government should give “major priority” to protecting the UK’s status as a leader in commercial law, as well as dealing with family justice issues– and that should override the desire to finish the ECJ’s role altogether.  

The report stressed that the end the "substantive part" of the court's jurisdiction over the UK was an "inevitable consequence of Brexit", but that it should keep its role as arbitrator over the Brussels I and Brussels II regulations.

“We believe that a role for the Court of Justice of the European Union in respect of these essentially procedural regulations is a price worth paying to maintain effective cross-border tools of justice,” said Bob Neill, the Conservative chairman of the committee​.

The Prime Minister has also underlined the UK Government’s commitment to continued cooperation with other member states against crime and terrorism as part of the future relationship with the EU.

In today’s report, the committee urged Theresa May not to use the EU’s need for continued crime and justice cooperation to obtain concessions in other areas.

“We welcome the Government’s signals that it intends to continue to cooperate with the EU on criminal justice,” Neill said.

“The seriousness of the matter and the degree of mutual interest give weight to the suggestion that this aspect of negotiations be separated firmly from others – it is too precious to be left vulnerable to tactical bargaining.”

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