I wonder how many will actually understand this point

The problem for our prime minister is that at every turn her head hits the hard wall of law and the role of the European court of justice (ECJ). Theresa May has cornered herself by insisting that the UK withdraw totally from the court and its decisions. Nobody explained to her that if you have cross-border rights and contracts you have to have cross-border law and regulations. And if you have cross-border law you have to have supranational courts to deal with disputes.

Call it what you like, but in the end you need rules as to conduct, and arbiters for disagreement. Even the World Trade Organisation has a disputes court.

That’s why trade treaties like TPP and TTIP have arbitration courts too.

But the entirety of the left is up in arms about them, isn’t it?

12 comments on “I wonder how many will actually understand this point

  1. Actually, a lot of international contracts are conducted under the Laws of England and Wales…

  2. But why should the EU court, the ECJ, be the body ruling on EU disputes with external parties.

    ‘Cause we’d expect fair and impartial judgements according to the letter of EU treaties, directives and regulations, would we?

  3. As a point of comparison, would the UK place the ultimate jurisdiction over rights of US companies or citizens working in the UK into the hands of the US Supreme Court, with the rulings of those judges to be directly enforceable against HMG?

    I suppose the issue here is that European politicians may see the ECJ as a benevolent but ultimately neutral supranational court, whereas from the UK point of view it is clearly an EU institution so not a neutral venue for UK-EU disputes to be decided. If you see the EU as an evolving quasi-federal set-up whose deeper integration is inevitable as long as the Union survives, then the ECJ becomes rather more the nucleus of a supreme domestic court than a supranational one, which makes committing to its jurisdiction for decades to come a less comfortable choice.

  4. Any but the most basic international commercial contract will stipulate the governing law in case of dispute and as TomJ says, British law is commonly chosen and this is so even when neither (or no) party is British.

    Helena Kennedy QC must know this.

  5. But if the parties are Muslim, they can do whatever they want. Coz it’s not really your country.

  6. Surely the point is that we seek to re-establish a border. That being done we would not submit ourselves to what would become an entirely foreign court.
    Of course tongue in cheek I wonder if we are due compensation for being mis-sold the EU as a trading agreement, whereas the very existence of this court shows it to be a State

  7. Further, the only reason any court has jurisdiction over Britain is that some past Parliament thought it a good idea and passed the relevant legislation. No Parliament can bind it’s successors, so all that is necessary is for Parliament to change its mind and pass an Act accordingly.
    I have some sympathy with the lady- she has obviously spent considerable time learning the intricacies of the law as it stands, and doesn’t want to have to relearn it all.

  8. “if you have cross-border law you have to have supranational courts to deal with disputes” – no, you jolly well don’t. Any court will do its best to deal with any dispute put to it (which is within its scope) under whatever law it deems to be applicable. Not only do many international contracts operate under the Laws of England (and Wales), as TomJ points out, but many contracts under all sorts of laws specify the Courts of England (and Wales) as the jurisdiction.

  9. One doesn’t even need jurisdiction to be specified (although it is advisable). There is an entire body of law known as Private Intetnational Law (or Conflict of Laws) which deals with disputes between parties in different jurisdictions. Obviously, if you are dealing with Saudi Arabia, Iran or Nigeria, enforcement might be difficult. But caveats apply, so take your chances.

  10. Meissen Bison
    There’s no such thing as British law. There is English law, which applies in England & Wales, Scots law and Northern Ireland law.
    English & Northern Irish law are similar, being based on common law. Scots law has elements of Roman law in it.

  11. “There’s no such thing as British law.”

    What would you call, for example the Companies Act 2006, which applies to the whole of the United Kingdom?

  12. @ Paul Carlton

    I would call it United Kingdom legislation.

    It makes specific reference to Scotland 225 times, because procedures are different there.

    So no, it doesn’t apply uniformly to the whole of the United Kingdom.

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