Unite: Lady Hale right to call for urgent clarity on post-Brexit ECJ relationship

Unite has welcomed the call by Lady Brenda Hale, the new president of the Supreme Court, for parliament to provide clarity on the UK’s post-Brexit relationship with the European Court of Justice (ECJ).

Lady Hale said she looked to the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill to set out what judges should do with future judgments from the court.

She said: “We hope it will tell us what we should be doing … how much we should be taking into account [judgments from the ECJ]. We would like to be told because then we will get on and do it.

“We will do what parliament tells us to do. We would like parliament to give us as much clarity as possible.”

Unite welcomed Lady Hale’s comments, as it did those of her predecessor Lord Neuberger, who warned of confusion in the courts because the bill states that courts “need not have regard to anything done on or after exit day by the European Court…but may do so if it considers it appropriate”.

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “As the repeal bill enters its committee stage in the House of Commons, we urgently need to know what this chaotic and failing government really means by having a ‘close cooperative relationship’ with the ECJ on the one hand, yet leaving the court’s ‘direct jurisdiction’ on the other.

“Unless ministers commit to ensuring UK workers continue to benefit from future improved rights secured in the ECJ, and sets out exactly how that will happen, there is a real danger that our members will only be protected at work by second-rate rights.

“But with the Tories seemingly more interested in fighting among themselves than in achieving a Brexit deal that works for working people, at least we know the Labour party will fight to ensure that our members’ rights at work will not be left behind.”