September 5, 2017

UK Ministers: European Judges Will Settle Cross-Border Cases Post-Brexit

As part of the Government’s plans for Brexit, European courts will still hand down rulings in the UK to settle cross-border issues, like divorce and child custody.

A paper outlining Britain’s future cooperation with EU civil courts will state that individuals and businesses need reassurance that their cases will be handled after Britain exits the EU.

Close cooperation will be necessary, the paper says, for the millions of EU citizens living in Britain and Britons living in the EU. Cooperation is also necessary to handle cases involving businesses that invest, buy and sell across borders.

Along with divorce and child custody issues, the proposal also covers a broad range of other legal issues, including business disputes and British consumers filing suit for defective products.

The proposals are designed to provide clarity as to which courts will hear cases, which laws will be used to resolve them, and enforcement of judgments in other countries.

The British Government is aiming for an agreement that would closely follow the EU’s current system for deciding which laws should be used to rule and enforce.

The proposals, which outline the Government’s position, come just ahead of the third round of Brexit talks, which will be held next week in Brussels.

Close cooperation in this area isn’t just in the interest of the UK citizens living in the EU, it’s in the interest of the 3.2 million EU citizens living here in Britain,” said a Government spokesperson.

For families living across borders, the spokesperson said, it must be made sure that “cross-border laws will apply to them in a fair and sensible way.”

By setting out a very clear position on this, we hope that we will be able to work with the (European) Commission to agree on a reasoned approach that works for families here in Britain and across the European Union,” said the spokesperson.

The new legal framework would replace the existing arrangement, of which Britain is a part of the EU’s civil judicial cooperation system. The current system has a clear set of rules that apply to cross-border disputes.

The Government also released a position paper last week, which stated that it was “confident” it would be able to enforce immigration laws without having to place a hard border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

The British Government is expected to release a position paper on future cooperation with the ECJ and three other papers in the coming week.

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