22 November 2018

UK's last ECJ judge bats back 'unpatriotic' criticism

UK judges will be open to accusations of being 'unpatriotic' when they follow European law post-Brexit, according to UK's ECJ judge.

Ian Forrester QC, the UK judge at the General Court of the European Court of Justice, said the 'turbulence and uncertainty' surrounding the UK’s departure 'has given us our greatest crisis of governance for years'.

Crisis of governance

Mr Forrester, who may have the unenviable record of being the last UK last appointment to the EU court, was delivering a speech to the London Solicitors Litigation Association. He went on to explain 'there is a tendency to say, once liberated we will be able to make our own rules.’ However, across many areas of regulated activity, such an ambition would not be realised. The UK’s affiliation to the elaboration of technical standards has been ‘extremely important,' and 'after Brexit, I can’t imagine we will be casual about equal pay for men and women or competition law.' For judges faced with 'textual analysis',

Not unpatriotic

 Mr Forrester said, it was 'not unpatriotic to consider what judges in the EU27 would do'. European law, he said, provided ‘functioning common laws that are technical and precise’. He said,  'it seems we must shed vague principles of European law,' he said, but decisions on issues such as contested product safety presented a 'physical situation' where 'consistency has an obvious merit'.Mr Forrester raised his chief concern that post-Brexit was the effect on individuals.