"There is sensible space between absolute attachment and absolute separation"by Bob Neill / April 5, 2017 / Leave a comment
The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), the ultimate authority on EU law, does not appear to sit among the government’s most lamented losses of Brexit. You need only turn to the second chapter of the Brexit White Paper to see “ending the jurisdiction of the CJEU in the UK” as a central executive goal. However, the Justice Committee—a cross-party group of MPs that scrutinises the Ministry of Justice (and which I chair)—found complications with this approach in a recent inquiry.
EU regulations require the commercial and family judgments of one country to be recognised and enforced in others; they also clarify jurisdiction (the question of which court will hear a case) in cross-border disputes where it would otherwise be ambiguous. These laws, known as Brussels I and II, have many uses, whether you’re a large City corporation looking for certainty in the legal ramifications of a major contract, or an ordinary person seeking maintenance from an ex-partner overseas.
Brussels I and II don’t decide what can go in a contract, or what constitutes grounds for divorce. In legalese, they are procedural not substantive: they simply identify the court with jurisdiction in cases with links to multiple EU countries. Obviously, that’s not a job that can be left to domestic courts without any mutual influence or interdependence—binding cross-border rules require some kind of supranational authority.