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Presidents Blog

11 August 2017

Publish date: 11/08/2017

If you are currently squinting at the horizon turned misty by the blazing sun and bright blue skies debating an ice-cream, you're probably not concerned about the Great Repeal Bill (or indeed reading this!). However Lord Neuberger, President of the Supreme Court is so concerned he has recently raised the lack of judicial direction emanating from the corridors of powers as we hurtle toward Brexit.

The Government has been consistent that leaving the ECJ is a requirement for Brexit and to date, the suggestion is that cases not currently before a UK court at the point of departure will not be bound to follow its rulings. This, says Tom Brake (Liberal Democrats' spokesman on Brexit) "......is leaving judges in the firing line yet again.....", a reference back to the furore against the judiciary following the article 50 challenge. Prof Sir David Edward, a former judge at the ECJ goes further and accuses the Prime Minister of not knowing the difference between the court of human rights and the court of justice stating that the PM had failed to grasp the ECJ's role in upholding EU single market rules. Back in July the rumblings from the government were that the ECJ could play a transitional role upon Brexit, the terms of which would be open for negotiation. Like all things Brexit, we simply do not know what will happen.

The concern for local authorities, which are inherently bound up by ECJ rulings must surely be the lack of certainty and potential for geographical inconsistencies alongside constant appeals. Parliament must provide appropriate statutory direction to enable us all to proceed on a level playing field.

Best wishes and holiday or not- I think an ice-cream is definitely in order.

Helen McGrath
Policy & Communications Manager
Lawyers in Local Government Ltd