Brexit: Dispute Resolution and Enforcement (European Union Committee Report) - Motion to Take Note

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 5:37 pm on 17th October 2018.

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Photo of Lord Callanan Lord Callanan Minister of State (Department for Exiting the European Union) 5:37 pm, 17th October 2018

My Lords, on behalf of the Government I very much welcome the EU Justice Sub-Committee’s report Dispute Resolution and Enforcement After Brexit. The detailed analysis and consideration of the areas covered by the report is a welcome contribution to the wider discussions on how disputes between the UK and EU should be resolved after we leave in March 2019. The report was ably introduced by the noble Baroness, Lady Kennedy, and we are fortunate to have the benefit of her vast experience of these matters. I also thank noble Lords from all sides of the House for their constructive and insightful speeches during the debate.

I will say as much as I can on these matters and respond to as many questions as possible, but I ask noble Lords to accept that this is a live negotiation. Many of these matters are being discussed and negotiated on at the moment. Some parts are agreed; others are not. Some parts are agreed at technical level; others are outstanding and waiting for related parts to be agreed. In some respects, therefore, it would not be helpful to go into too much detail on some aspects of the negotiations. Nevertheless, I will try to respond to as many of the points raised as possible.

Noble Lords have expressed concerns about how disputes will be resolved after the UK leaves the EU, in particular—this was referred to by many noble Lords—the proposal that the jurisdiction of the CJEU would be replaced by a judicial or quasi-judicial body to oversee disputes between the UK and EU. I assure noble Lords that, since the EU Justice Sub-Committee published its report in May, we have made significant progress in the negotiations on establishing appropriate and workable dispute resolution mechanisms. I would like to update noble Lords on these negotiations and note that the UK and the EU are close to concluding a withdrawal agreement that sets out the terms of the UK’s orderly exit from the European Union. The withdrawal agreement will provide important certainty to individuals and businesses, setting out the deal on citizens’ rights, on the financial settlement and on the implementation period. We are close to reaching agreement on a number of other separation issues, which will provide for winding-down provisions across a number of areas as we leave—for instance, cases pending at the CJEU and ongoing customs processes.

The noble Baroness, Lady Kennedy, asked specifically for an update on these ongoing judicial proceedings. I can assure her that the relevant provisions will set out the process winding down UK involvement in legal proceedings before the CJEU in an orderly manner. These will support the legitimate expectations of, and efficient access to justice for, those who have spent time and money progressing cases through the UK and the European court systems, allowing all cases in train at the end of the implementation period to continue to their natural conclusions. Once the final areas of the withdrawal agreement have been settled, we will consider the necessary legislative requirements for those areas. I realise that this will be a disappointment to the noble Lord, Lord Thomas, in particular, but it remains the Government’s position that, in leaving the European Union, we will bring about an end to the jurisdiction of the CJEU in the United Kingdom.

A number of noble Lords asked me about judicial co-operation and the European arrest warrant. We are pleased that we have reached agreement with the EU on the content of Part Three, Title V, of the withdrawal agreement on ongoing police and judicial co-operation in criminal matters. Title V provides clarity and legal certainty for individuals, for law enforcement stakeholders and the judiciary in the unlikely event that we do not reach agreement on future police and criminal justice co-operation as part of our future security partnership with the EU. We want to continue to play a leading role in Europol and Eurojust, and we will continue to do so during the implementation period.