European law expert Martin Howe QC warns that under the White Paper terms, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) “will have direct jurisdiction to bind the UK to make its law comply with the EU rulebook”.
Rather than restoring the supremacy of British courts, the Government’s plans would make the UK “subservient” to the EU. The chairman of Lawyers for Britain slams the Prime Minister’s claims that ECJ jurisdiction in the UK will end as “sophistry at best” and accuses her of breaking her Brexit promise to take back control of our laws.
The report says that under the Chequers White Paper, the UK will adopt a Moldova/ Ukraine/Georgia model of submission to the rulings of the ECJ.
The three have agreed that in a dispute between them and the EU about whether they have followed EU law, the dispute would not be decided by their own courts or a balanced international panel but by the ECJ.
It was claimed that they have agreed to this because they are poor, under threat from Russia, desperate to secure agreements with the EU and because they hope to become EU members.
The UK as a departed member is “completely different”, says the report.
It adds: “It is interesting to note that someone within the Whitehall machine had apparently identified this rather strange and demeaning Moldovan procedure as a way of getting the UK to submit to ECJ rulings as early as August last year, and that it has now been adopted as government policy.”
The report says the Chequers plan’s claim about its proposed “joint reference” – that the court of one party cannot resolve disputes between the two – is not true because the ECJ’s rulings will have a binding effect, and the Commission will be able to force a case to be referred to the ECJ regardless.
Therefore “the UK would need to alter its law to comply with the ECJ’s ruling and would necessarily have to overrule any contrary judgments of the UK courts on the interpretation of a UK law in the ‘common’ rulebook”.
Mr Howe, who has acted for the Government, warns “this has very wide-ranging implications for the future autonomy of the UK”.
Signing up to a common rulebook means the UK is not just bound by current EU rules but also to any future changes of the rules made by the ECJ.
He goes on to say that although the UK will have to “pay due regard” to the rulings of the ECJ, the EU will not have to pay “any regard at all” to the rulings of UK courts, making the UK “explicitly subservient to the ECJ”.
Mr Howe concludes: “The Prime Minister has broken the pledges she made in the Manifesto and in the Lancaster House speech.
“The interpretation of the laws applying within the UK will continue to be carried out by judges in Luxembourg, with judges in the UK having only a subservient role.
“What is even more alarming than the PM’s wholesale abandonment of her promises on this is her insistence that she has not abandoned them.”
It comes after Michel Barnier rejected the customs plan saying they “will not” accept Mrs May’s proposal to collect tariffs on behalf of Brussels.
Tory MPs urged the Prime Minister to rule out further concessions and begin to work on a straightforward trade deal.
Brexiteers have been calling for the Government to seek a deal like Canada’s and step up preparations for a World Trade Organisation deal as plan B.
Mrs May was in Salzburg, Austria on Friday, at The Magic Flute opera with chancellor Sebastian Kurtz. It followed a “positive discussion” with Mr Kurtz.
She started her summer holiday in Italy yesterday.