Europe & UK

April 20, 2017

Government’s clarity on Brexit is a must according to UK’s top judge

Brexit, UK judge

How British courts should interpret rulings from the European Court of Justice after Brexit, needs to be clarified from the government, says Britain’s most senior judge. Prime Minister Theresa May's government has said that Britain will leave its jurisdiction after Brexit, but currently, it must abide by ECJ judgements.

The long and complicated process of the UK detaching from the UK legislation has been on for more than 40 years yet, according to the government, British courts might take note of ECJ rulings after the country has left the bloc.

"If the United Kingdom parliament says we should take into account decisions of the ECJ then we will do so, if it says we shouldn't then we won't, and basically we will do what the statute says," says David Neuberger, President of the UK's Supreme Court. “If it doesn't express clearly what the judges should do about decisions of the European Court of Justice, then the judges will simply have to do their best. But to blame the judges for, as it were, making the law when parliament has failed to do so would be unfair."

Brexit followers say that the vote to leave the EU was partly about rebuilding legislative sovereignty and the ECJ should have no say at all over the British matters. A former British Attorney General Dominic Grieve, in his support, said Neuberger was right.

A government spokeswoman said the ministers had been clear that the direct jurisdiction of the ECJ must come to an end.

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