European court could still have jurisdiction in the UK after March 2019 Brexit date

The UK Government argues direct ECJ jurisdiction to oversee a new deal would be 'unprecedented'
The UK Government argues direct ECJ jurisdiction to oversee a new deal would be 'unprecedented'
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The rulings of the European Court could continue to hold sway in the UK after the March 2019 Brexit deadline, it has emerged this morning.

As the Government unveiled plans for settling future legal disputes with the EU, it was revealed ECJ jurisdiction could form part of a transition arrangement with the bloc.

The development comes as Brexit officials set out their case for alternative mechanisms to regulate any new trade and security deal with the union.

In a newly published position paper, they outline a range of proposals including a Joint Committee of EU and UK representatives, and an arbitration panel incorporating a third party member.

The ability of European court rulings to alter or overturn British laws has long been a source of outrage among eurosceptics, with the issue playing a high profile role in last year's referendum campaign.

Ending the ECJ's jurisdiction was an early red line for the Prime Minister, who used her Lancaster House speech in January to argue that the UK "will not have truly left the European Union if we are not in control of our own laws".

In today's document, officials argue that any requirement for the ECJ to continue to have jurisdiction in the UK as a condition of any future deal would be "unprecedented".

They instead call for respective domestic courts to be used to enforce the obligations and rights of businesses and individuals in the UK and the remaining 27 member states, while pointing to alternative models - such as arbitration panels - to handle dispute resolution.

Theresa May this morning denied suggestions that her Government was rowing back on its pledge to "take back control of our laws", stating it was "absolutely clear" that when Britain leaves the EU "we will be leaving the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice".

However, it has since emerged that officials have not ruled out the possibility of accepting ongoing direct jurisdiction of the ECJ as part of an interim period between Britain's exit in March 2019 and the transition to a new "bespoke" relationship with the union.