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MPs to consider justice after Brexit

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March 28, 2024

A group of MPs has launched an enquiry into the possible effects of Brexit on the justice system.

The House of Commons Justice Committee has invited written submissions from experts on the issue and other parties likely to be affected by Britain’s eventual exit from the European Union.

The Committee’s investigation will include family law and its eventual report will make recommendations to the government on the legal issues that will need to be addressed during the exit negotiations.

One significant issue to be addressed is the EU law defining and regulating multi-country legal disputes. This would not necessarily apply to the UK following Brexit but its removal would affect the ability of the English courts to rule on cross-border cases.

The deadline for submissions is 11 November, with a maximum length of 3,000 words. The Committee will hold hearings on the issues involved at a later stage.

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  1. Alan Finlayson says:

    It isn’t only legal system of England & Wales that will be affected by the withdrawal of UK membership of the EU. It will be all jurisdictions across the whole of the UK. The legal systems of Scotland and Northern Ireland will be equally affected. EU Regulations entrenched in our legal procedures are widespread and affect many areas of civil justice. Family law will be heavily affected when it comes to matters relating, for example, to reciprocal arrangements covering spousal and child maintenance obligations. Prior to the introduction in 2012 of the EU Maintenance Regulation (EC 4/2009) reciprocal enforcement of maintenance was largely regulated by the Hague Convention for some European and EU countries, which also included Australia. When legislation was drafted to to make way for the Maintenance Regulation, that legislation also revoked the then extant Hague Convention Countries Order and the Republic of Ireland Order as the EU had adopted a new 2007 Hague Convention on behalf of all member states. Once we are out of the EU, the 2007 Hague Convention and the EU Maintenance Regulation will no longer apply to the UK and will leave a massive hole in the civil justice system that governs that particular area of family law. The UK parliament has a huge job on its hands reinstating or passing new legislation to reinstate the UK’s former position. Fortunately other areas of civil justice still have extant legislation as a fall back because the introduction of a raft of EU Regulations merely supplanted existing reciprocal arrangements.

    In matters relating to pecuniary claims, EU Regulations governing Small Claims procedures, European Order for Payment, European Enforcement Orders, and enforcement of money and non money judgments (under Brussels 1 as amended) will also fall. Individuals and businesses reliant on just that particular clutch of Regulations will be affected by the withdrawal of the availability of access to justice for pecuniary claims. This is just the tip of the iceberg.

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