Northern Ireland courts could gain power to depart from EU case law

Northern Ireland courts could have the power to depart from the acquis of EU law under proposals set out by the UK government yesterday.

At present, only the UK Supreme Court and the High Court of Justiciary in Scotland will have this power from 31 December 2020.

Under proposals set out by the Lord Chancellor Robert Buckland QC, more courts would be given the power to move away from the EU case law which is retained.

Mr Buckland said: “At the end of the transition period it is absolutely right that British courts have the final say on legal disputes, where appropriate.

“We will work with judges and the legal sector to decide exactly which courts should have the power to depart from retained EU case law and will set out our plan in due course.”

The consultation, which will run for six weeks, sets out two options to expand the number of UK courts and tribunals that can depart from retained EU law.

The Ministry of Justice will consider extending the powers to either:

  • Expanding to the Court of Appeal of England and Wales, the Inner Court of Session in Scotland, the Court of Appeal in Northern Ireland and equivalent level courts throughout the UK;
  • Or expanding to those courts as well as the High Court of England and Wales, the Outer House of the Court of Session in Scotland, the Sheriff Appeal Court in Scotland, the High Court of Justiciary, and the High Court in Northern Ireland.

The government said it will “continue to work with the devolved assemblies, legal professionals, judges, and business to make sure our legal sector’s world-leading status is maintained and our courts are equipped with the powers they need”.

You can respond to the consultation here.

Tags: Brexit, EU law

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