The Government have been clear that in leaving the EU we will bring about an end to the direct jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the European Union in the United Kingdom.
As you know, Mr Speaker, Scotland has its own distinct legal system. Brexit will have a direct impact on that system, on justice agencies in Scotland and on a range of devolved issues. Will the Secretary of State confirm that that distinction will be given serious consideration as the Brexit negotiations progress?
Yes. Indeed, when I spoke to the Scottish Justice Minister Michael Matheson last month I emphasised to him that one of our key objectives in the official and ministerial-level meetings between my Department and his would be to ensure that the interests and features of the Scottish justice system are properly reflected in the UK’s work, particularly on future civil judicial co-operation with the European Union.
In January, the Prime Minister boldly and unambiguously asserted that Brexit would allow the UK to take back control of its laws and bring to an end the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in Britain. Last month, however, the official Government document on the ECJ said something entirely different: Britain would be willing to work with the EU on arrangements for judicial supervision. Given that remarkable change, how did the Prime Minister get it so wrong in January?
The hon. Gentleman is misreading the Government’s position. The Prime Minister was very clear in her Lancaster House speech, as the Government have been, that this country’s exit from the European Union means that the EU’s treaties will cease to apply to the United Kingdom and that therefore the direct effect that decisions of the Court of Justice of the European Union have in the United Kingdom will cease from that point. What is also the case, as spelled out in the Government paper on dispute resolution, is that there are many international examples of arbitration mechanisms that involve different jurisdictions coming together to agree how to take account of their different courts’ views in coming to a settlement when a dispute arises. We are approaching these negotiations in a constructive fashion.