Supreme Court looks for clarity on the best ways to handle EU judgments after Brexit

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s Supreme Court would like clearer assistance from parliament on how it should handle European Union court judgements after Brexit, its brand-new president stated on Thursday.

The problem of exactly what weight, if any, judgements of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) will have in British law after the UK leaves the European Union is among numerous thorny areas in the Brexit settlements.

Brenda Hale, who was sworn in as president of the Supreme Court on Monday after working as among its justices for 13 years, said she and her associates were trying to find assistance from parliament on the issue.

“We hope that the European Union Act, when it’s ultimately passed, will inform us exactly what we need to be doing – offering us the power to consider, or stating we should consider, or saying we must ignore,” she told reporters.

“Whatever parliament chooses we should do, we wish to be told because then we’ll get on and do it.”

A government policy paper released in August said Britain wanted to leave the “direct jurisdiction” of the ECJ while likewise recognising that future civil judicial cooperation would require to consider “local legal plans” such as the ECJ.

SUBMIT PICTURE – A guy waves a European Union flag outside the Supreme Court prior to the decision of a court ruling on whether Theresa May’s government needs parliamentary approval to begin the process of leaving the European Union, in Parliament Square, main London, Britain, January 24, 2017. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth

The European Union states that for particular concerns, such as the rights of EU citizens in Britain, the ECJ needs to continue to have its say – a stance highly turned down by the most ardent supporters of Brexit.

Hale said the government policy documents released over the summertime were “at quite a high level of generality” and explained them as aspirational.

She praised the formula used by Prime Minister Theresa May in a significant speech on Brexit in Florence on Sept. 22. May said that where there was uncertainty around EU law, she desired UK courts to be able to “take into account” ECJ judgements.

“‘Measure’ is quite useful because it does give one the power to take it into account, however likewise the power to say ‘for the following great factors, we believe something else,'” said Hale.

Her deputy, Jonathan Mance, stated the form of words utilized in the EU Withdrawal Expense currently going through parliament was “a weaker formula”.

The expense says that British courts “need not have regard to anything done on or after exit day by the European Court … but may do so if it considers it proper to do so”.

Modifying by Stephen Addison