On Thin Ice: the Role of the Court of Justice under the Withdrawal Agreement

Her alleged red line of bringing “an end to the jurisdiction of the Court of Justice in Britain” was always going to be a problem for Theresa May: After all, the UK’s commitment to comply with certain EU rules would inevitably mean that the ECJ’s interpretations of these rules would have to be binding on the UK. It is thus no surprise that the Withdrawal Agreement provides for the jurisdiction of the ECJ in various places. What is perhaps more of a surprise – and surely a negotiation win for the UK – is the EU’s legally problematic concession of an arbitration mechanism to resolve inter-party disputes over the interpretation of the Withdrawal Agreement.

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Regime Collision between EU Law and Investment Law: New Developments in the Vattenfall Case

EU law and international investment law are on collision course. The bone of contention is which court shall decide intra-EU investor-state disputes. While the ECJ indicated in its Achmea judgment that only itself and the domestic courts of the member states may decide such disputes, the Investment Tribunal in the Vattenfall case has now decided in the context of the Energy Charter Treaty that Achmea does not preclude its jurisdiction. How did this clash of courts arise and how can it be resolved?

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Dispute Resolution after Brexit

When setting out her priorities for the Brexit negotiations in a speech at Lancaster House in January, Theresa May promised to ‘bring an end to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in Britain.’  This forcefully formulated ‘red line’ turned into a headache for the British negotiators as it was both somewhat misconceived – the ECJ’s preliminary reference procedure hardly results in jurisdiction ‘in Britain’ – and overly categorical ignoring both the likely content of the UK-EU withdrawal agreement and the shape of the future UK-EU relationship envisaged by her own government as a ‘new, deep and special partnership.’ Today’s paper on ‘enforcement and dispute resolution’ should therefore be welcomed as injecting a portion of realism and pragmatism in the debate over the ECJ.

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