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UK Hints At Reducing Civil Law Ties With EU

UK Hints At Reducing Civil Law Ties With EU

Sensitive issues are yet to be discussed between the United Kingdom and the European Union in Brexit talks, but a position paper published by the Theresa May government on Wednesday raised doubts whether London will be able to "take back control" of its laws - one of the red lines of exiting the bloc.

One of a slew of position papers being released by DExEU before the third round of formal Brexit talks in Brussels next week, the new document insists that it is "normal" for the European Union to strike agreements with third countries without the ECJ having direct jurisdiction over enforcement and dispute resolution. "We are left with no other choice but to take them to European courts on this as a last resort and if Brexit goes through, that right will be taken away from us". What had been understood by that pledge is that the European Court of Justice (ECJ) would no longer have any influence over United Kingdom law. In those areas, the United Kingdom may not be able to diverge from case law determined by the ECJ.

Rebel Tory Dominic Grieve said it was "pie in the sky" to think that we can "wholly escape the influence" of the ECJ.

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". In the government's position paper on the matter, which is published this afternoon, a new word has popped up.

The distinction is important because the United Kingdom seems to accept that the ECJ must adjudicate, but is less willing to allow it to overrule British courts when it comes to questions of how to interpret the law.

A spokesman said: "We will continue to work with the British Government to ensure the company's long-term success and investment in the United Kingdom".

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Prime Minister Theresa May's administration set out core principles for dismantling the current legal arrangement, though it still hopes British and European courts will continue to recognize and enforce one another's domestic judgments after the U.K.'s departure from the EU in March 2019.

Britain could still be subject to some rulings by the European Court of Justice after Brexit, after an apparent climbdown by Theresa May.

He said the United Kingdom was proposing an arbitration process that would guarantee that "both sides have confidence in that process".

This position has already proven to be a sticking point in negotiations over the rights of EU citizens living in the United Kingdom, with Brussels reported to want European courts to enforce the agreement. The paper confirms what already appeared to be the case from the UK's Repeal Bill, namely that the United Kingdom plans to transpose the European rules on conflict of laws, Rome I and II, into domestic law.

But it does not explicitly rule out any scenario other than direct ECJ jurisdiction.

During her landmark speech at Lancaster House in January where she laid out her vision for a "hard" Brexit, the prime minister said Brexit would mean British laws being made in Westminster, Edinburgh, Cardiff, and Belfast and "interpreted by judges not in Luxembourg but in courts across the country".

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