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Lord Chief Justice urges Government to reach early Brexit agreement on legal judgements

Agnes Chambre

2 min read

The UK’s top judge has called on ministers to act quickly to confirm mutual recognition of British and EU court judgements will continue after Brexit. 

Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd criticised the “many months” of delay for which he said there was “no reason”.

The Lord Chief Justice also urged the Government to dispel “the lie” that the UK’s position as a leading hub for the legal profession was under threat from leaving the European Union.

How UK and European courts will deal with each other’s decisions after Britain’s withdrawal from the bloc has not yet been decided.

In a speech at Mansion House last night, Lord Thomas said: “It is essential for the UK that we work with the EU to ensure that there is a simple and flexible regime for the mutual recognition of enforcement of judgments for the future…

“Many months have elapsed since these points were made clear by the judiciary and the legal profession to Her Majesty’s Government. There is no reason for further delay.

“The common good and the national interest demand no less than the clearest commitment by Her Majesty’s Government on these issues. It is an essential support for the continued position and promotion of our laws, our courts, our judges, our arbitration centres and our legal profession and, of course, the major contribution they make to national prosperity, both in their own right and in the essential support of the financial services industry.”

Elsewhere in the address, his final public speech before his retirement, Lord Thomas said Britain’s reputation as a global legal centre was not under threat from Brexit – but he added that the case still had to be made.

“Rumour may insinuate that English law is no longer certain; that London is no longer a safe forum to bring disputes. Such rumours are wrong and unequivocally so,” he added.

“Rumour must be countered if we are to ensure that the lie repeated does not — as it must not — be taken as truth…

“Our legal profession will continue to be expert and world-respected. Our judges will continue to be drawn from the highest ranks of that legal profession.”

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