3 December 2018
Andrew Bridgen questions the Attorney General about the supremacy of the ECJ over the Brexit backstop

Andrew Bridgen questions the Attorney General on comments made by recently retired president of the EFTA court, Dr Carl Baudenbacher, who said “It is absolutely unbelievable that a country like the UK, which was the first country to accept independent courts, would subject itself to this?”

Andrew Bridgen (North West Leicestershire) (Con)

Does the Attorney General agree with Dr Carl Baudenbacher, the recently retired president of the EFTA court, who said,

“This is not a real arbitration tribunal—behind it the ECJ decides everything. This is taken from the Ukraine agreement. It is absolutely unbelievable that a country like the UK, which was the first country to accept independent courts, would subject itself to this”?

The Attorney General

I do not accept that characterisation because, in any event, the only things that can be brought before the tribunal are systemic, operational issues to do with the management of the agreement by both sides. The Court cannot get involved, once the winding down has taken place, in the resolution of individual disputes between the citizens and businesses of this country. Members really must understand that. It will be over: the ECJ’s jurisdiction will be finished once the winding down takes place. This is an entirely different situation to resolve disputes between the state of the United Kingdom and the European Union. Where we have agreed to apply European Union law, it makes perfect sense that the EU Court should interpret it, and then it should be applied by the arbitral tribunal. I have to say to my hon. Friend that I see no real fundamental objection to it.

Hansard