European Court of Justice: Northern Ireland

Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office written question – answered on 24th March 2023.

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Photo of Lord Empey Lord Empey UUP

To ask His Majesty's Government whether the European Court of Justice will remain the final arbiter of EU law as it applies in Northern Ireland in the event that the Windsor Framework is implemented.

Photo of Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

The Government has acknowledged, as the Prime Minister did in his statement of 27 February, that the European Court of Justice (ECJ) is the final arbiter on matters of EU law. But by the EU's own calculations, less than 3 percent of EU rules with ECJ oversight apply under the Windsor Framework, with those that remain only applying to maintain maximum free trade and market access for NI firms. And the Windsor Framework narrows the application of EU rules in Northern Ireland, removing 1,700 pages of EU law, and takes with it any European Court of Justice interpretation and oversight in those areas. The agreement also introduces the Stormont Brake, which would enable a sovereign UK Government decision to veto the application of new EU laws and accompanying ECJ oversight within Northern Ireland. This safeguard in the treaty itself is not subject to ECJ oversight, and any dispute on this issue would be resolved through subsequent independent arbitration according to international, not EU law.

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