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Across Parliament and throughout the legal sector, there is serious concern that the Government’s inadequate planning for justice co-operation after Brexit puts the most vulnerable people in our society at risk. The Chair of the Lords EU Justice Sub-Committee took the step of writing to the Secretary of State in October to criticise his lack of planning and warned:
“The government needs to wake up to the reality of what having no answers on family justice will mean after Brexit.”
Many people are concerned that the Government’s failure to secure agreement on a form of continued participation in the European arrest warrant will leave us less safe.
We currently benefit from a well-established, frequently updated and comprehensive set of reciprocal justice arrangements with the EU. These cover everything from disputes over child custody to medical negligence abroad. As a recent House of Lords European Union Committee report states, these specific EU regulations provide “certainty, predictability and clarity”. Without an agreement with our European partners on what the future of those reciprocal arrangements looks like after we leave the EU, people who are forced to go to court or mediation to protect their rights could face extremely damaging consequences. Whatever claims the Minister makes about the secondary legislation that the Tories are bringing in, the Opposition need to see concrete action, not words, to defend rights, because we simply do not trust the Government to protect working people’s rights.