Misjudging the CJEU

One reason the Tories can’t get what they want in the Brexit negotiations is their red line about any role for the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU).

But why this aversion to it?

The Court does not make law. It simply adjudicates on disputes that are referred to it when there is a disagreement about the meaning of rules that have already been agreed by elected governments and parliaments.

A former British judge, who was once President of the Court, said:

We do not take political decisions – but we do, sometimes, have to remind politicians of the decisions they have taken.”

It is not that the government’s attitude is a response to popular pressure. Any such is usually directed at the European Court of Human Rights, an entirely separate body which Britain will anyway remain part of. It is their judgements on votes for prisoners and the Abu Hamza case that triggered a public reaction.  But this was nothing to do with the EU or its Court (although Brexiters deliberately tried to confuse the public about that).

The CJEU settles more arcane disputes about the meaning of EU legislation and treaties.

And whatever arrangements are made with the EU, they will inevitably include a court or tribunal of some kind to settle disputes about the precise application of what has been agreed.

The CJEU by any other name, just so the Prime Minister can save face?

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