UK will keep ‘half an eye’ on ECJ rulings after Brexit, says justice minister

Justice minister Dominic Raab has conceded the UK would keep “half an eye” on rulings by the ’s highest court after Brexit as the government appeared to soften its stance on how heavily the bloc would influence UK law.

However, Raab played down the idea that a government document ruling out the European court of justice holding “direct jurisdiction” on UK matters left room for the ECJ to exercise influence on British law.

A flurry of Brexit policy papers, due to be published on Wednesday, will repeat the government’s insistence that the authority of the ECJ must end when Britain leaves the EU in March 2019.

The court will set out a range of options for resolving future disputes between Britain and the EU – over the rules of any future trade deal, for example – some of which are likely to involve European judges, or the application of ECJ case law.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Raab, who campaigned for Vote Leave in the run-up to the referendum, said the model “most likely” to be adopted after Brexit to resolve disputes between the UK and EU would involve an EU-appointed arbitrator, as well as a UK appointee.

“When we leave the EU, we’re taking back control over our laws,” he said. “There will be divergence between the case law of the EU and the UK. It is precisely because there will be that divergence as we take back control that it makes sense for the UK to keep half an eye on the case law of the EU, and for the EU to keep half an eye on the case law for the UK.”

Raab denied an arbitration panel would in essence be a court by another name and refuted suggestions that the government had recently introduced the word “direct” into paperwork dealing with the “direct jurisdiction” of the ECJ because the alternative they were putting forward was essentially the same.

“The EU has never had an international agreement whereby disputes are settled by the ECJ,” he said.

 

 

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