Britain’s most senior judge has called on the government to advise the courts how UK law will be developed after Brexit. At the moment, UK legislation is subject to rulings made by the European Court of Justice.
Lord Neuberger, who will step down as Supreme Court president next month, told the BBC that parliament must be “very clear” in telling the judges what to do about decisions of the ECJ after the UK leaves the EU.
The government’s Repeal Bill states that UK courts do not have to pay any heed to decisions of the ECJ after the UK has left the EU – but any court “may do so if it considers it appropriate”.
“If [the government] doesn’t express clearly what the judges should do about decisions of the ECJ after Brexit, or indeed any other topic after Brexit, then the judges will simply have to do their best,” Lord Neuberger told the BBC.
“But to blame the judges for making the law when parliament has failed to do so would be unfair,” he added.
The government has said its repeal bill – also known as the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill – will ensure that historic judgements of the ECJ will be given the same binding or precedent status in our courts as decisions of our own Supreme Court.
In a separate report, The Guardian noted that British Prime Minister Theresa May has been criticised for insisting that the ECJ’s jurisdiction should end.
James Chapman, the former chief of staff to May’s own Brexit secretary, David Davis, said the PM’s “absolutist” position was a “red line, effectively for a conference speech, that hamstrung these negotiations”.