Mr David Davis and his civil servants have been busy. While everyone else in England and Wales has been looking forward to the late summer bank holiday they have been preparing for the third round of talks with the Commission's Art 50 Task Force on 28 Aug 2017 (the programme for which is here). They have also produced a number of position papers and future partnership papers on data protection, enforcement and dispute resolution, cross-border civil judicial cooperation and future customs arrangements even though none of those "future partnership issues" is yet on the table.
The most interesting of the "future partnership" position papers is the enforcement and dispute resolution position paper which I discussed in HMG's Enforcement and Dispute Resolution Position Paper 23 Aug 2017 and the data protection paper which I discussed in HMG's Exchange and Protection of Personal Data Position Paper in my Data Protection blog today.
The enforcement and dispute resolution position paper has given rise to a lot of comment much of it uninformed because of the inclusion of the adjective direct in the first line of the paper. The sentence reads:
"In leaving the European Union, we will bring about an end to the direct jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU)."The Court of Justice determines disputes that arise under the EU treaties which cease to apply to automatically under art 50 (3) of the Treaty of European Union or the coming into force of a withdrawal agreement whichever happens first. In that sense, the jurisdiction of the Court of Justice will end. It will no longer be possible for the Commission to take infringement proceedings against our government for failing to implement a directive or for an English court to refer an issue of Union law that arises in English litigation to the Court under art 267 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. But the Court will continue to influence our law for many years to come and perhaps indefinitely by virtue of the incorporation of EU legislation and case law into our national law under the provisions of the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill. Moreover, as clause 6 (2) of the Bill permits courts in the UK to have regard to decisions of the Court of Justice after we leave the Union its decisions will continue to have considerable persuasive authority indefinitely.
I criticized the position paper but on the grounds that it guarantees no rights for citizens including those of our own country to take proceedings against our government if they suffer loss or damage by reason of its failure to implement an obligation under any withdrawal agreement that we may make with the remaining member states or of any derogation that it may make from such agreement. To my mind, that is much more fundamental.
The data protection paper is much more sensible. We need to ensure the unrestricted flow of personal data between Britain and the UK if our service industries are to continue to do business in Europe. The same is, of course, true of the service industries of the remaining member states. The difference is that they could survive disruption much better than us because they could still do business freely with each other. The financial services industries in say Frankfurt, Paris, Amsterdam, Dublin and Madrid might even do well if it became more difficult to exchange data with London. The European negotiators almost certainly know that and will be no hurry to do any favours for us unless and until they see some concessions on the issues that matter to them.
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