UK's May insists Brexit will end European Union court jurisdiction

May is being accused by some of a U-turn and a softening of her stance to allow for a role for European courts in the United Kingdom judicial process - but the government insists it's honouring its pledge to end the "direct" jurisdiction of the ECJ after Brexit, says the BBC.

Some political opponents described Wednesday's position paper as a climbdown from this earlier position, because it said the ECJ would not have a "direct" influence after Brexit - implying that European judges will still have an indirect say over United Kingdom disputes.

Some of these examples point to a possible role for the European Court of Justice, whether it is to pay "due account" to relevant ECJ decisions or to refer to its interpretation of the law. There have been some demands, both on the EU side and among those here who are still unhappy about Brexit, that the European Court of Justice should do the job. In those areas, the United Kingdom may not be able to diverge from case law determined by the ECJ.

The report will set out alternatives for dealing with legal disputes with the remaining 27-nation bloc saying Britain is in "a position of strength" to forge new arrangements.

Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer added that the "repeated reference to ending the "direct jurisdiction" of the ECJ is potentially significant".

Former Labour minister Lord Andrew Adonis, a Remain supporter, said: "Not much is left of David Davis's so-called "red line" of taking back control from European judges".

Theresa May's government will accept a "close cooperative relationship" with the European Court of Justice, in which both past and future rulings would still apply to the a concession aimed at accelerating Brexit talks.

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Announcing plans to seek "new close and comprehensive arrangements" for civil judicial co-operation with the European Union, reflecting "closely" the existing rules, the Government paper states: "We have a shared interest with the European Union in ensuring these new arrangements are thorough and effective".

Greener UK chair executive director Shaun Spiers said: "A week may be a long time in politics, but environmental processes unfold over years and decades". May said Wednesday that Britain's Supreme Court "will be the arbiter" of British laws. 'Such an arrangement would be incompatible with the principle of having a fair and neutral means of resolving disputes, as well as with the principle of mutual respect for the sovereignty and legal autonomy of the parties to the agreement'.

"The EU view the ECJ and access to the single market as an indivisible package", said Matthew Saunders, worldwide arbitration partner at Ashurst, a London-based law firm.

"The Prime Minister's ideological insistence that there can be no future role whatsoever for the ECJ or any similar court-like body risks preventing the deal Britain needs".

Its reference to ending the "direct" jurisdiction of the ECJ indicated that European Union judges could be offered an indirect role in future.

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

  • Megan Austin