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Rules of the Court of Judicature (Northern Ireland) (Amendment) (EU Exit) 2019

Volume 796: debated on Monday 25 February 2019

Motion to Approve

Moved by

My Lords, the question that presents itself on this instrument to those of us who again are not expert in the field is whether there is any Northern Ireland dimension to it, particularly in respect of terrorist or paramilitary financing, or is this purely to do with international sanctions regimes and the application of their rules after EU exit? The very fact that Northern Ireland appeared in the title of this instrument led some of us to be concerned as to whether there were wider implications.

My understanding is that it ultimately depends on whether we have a deal or no deal. If we have a deal, the UK Government and the EU will be pledged to protect the Northern Ireland border, respect the Belfast agreement and do everything possible to ensure that the harmony and peace that these communities have known will continue. That is certainly what we all want. In the event of no deal, the Prime Minister has pledged that there would be urgent discussions with the Republic of Ireland and the EU on how best to ensure that the environment in which the two communities of Northern Ireland and the Republic have existed would, in every way possible, as far as we can manage, be allowed to continue.

Again my understanding is that, if we leave the EU with a deal, the desire would be to continue the sanctions regime with which we are familiar. Northern Ireland is a part of the United Kingdom. Therefore, under the agreement—if it is agreed—and the ultimate political declaration there would be a desire to continue a uniform sanctions arrangement, albeit that we would be a free-standing state in international law, as would the EU.

If I have failed to answer the noble Lord adequately, I will write to him with further details, but my understanding is that this SI should not in any way affect the current arrangements, which we hope will continue.

Motion agreed.