Beyond Marmite: justice committee invites views on implications of Brexit

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By Polly Botsford on

MPs say they want to steer clear of “for and against” arguments


While the media recovers from Tesco’s shock Marmite shortage, caused — it is alleged — by price rises stemming from the referendum result, parliament itself has already moved on, it seems.

This week, the House of Commons’ justice select committee launched an inquiry into the implications of Brexit on the UK’s civil and criminal justice systems and the legal sector in general.

The committee, headed by Bob Neill MP, is seeking written submissions from “expert and affected parties” on the key areas of concern which it will put before the government as the latter enters into Brexit negotiations. The committee reiterated that it wants to steer clear of any arguments about the fact of Brexit itself. It stated:

The purpose of the inquiry is to establish those questions affecting the justice system which it will be essential for the government to resolve during its negotiations on the terms of the UK’s departure from the EU, and not to revisit arguments for and against that departure.

The committee is hoping to get views on the likely effects of Brexit in three areas: first, the UK criminal justice system, where the UK participates in a range of EU-based mechanisms such as the European Arrest Warrant and access to Europol and Eurojust. Second, the civil justice system where there are reams of EU laws on dealing with cross-border disputes, jurisdictional disputes, enforcement rules and so on which will have to be considered.

Last but not least it is canvassing for an impact assessment on the legal services sector, worth £25.7 billion to the UK’s economy in 2015. Feedback is requested on “passporting” as well as both “threats and opportunities” for the future of the legal sector.

The commons joint human rights committee last month also launched an inquiry into the implications of Brexit, this time on human rights. Given that Brexit has been rebranded as “eurocide”, it looks like there are plenty out there who believe the human rights implications may be great indeed.