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Britain sets out plan to escape from European Court

Britain has outlined several escape routes from the "direct jurisdiction" of the European Court of Justice after Brexit.

By Jon Francis | Published: 23rd August 2017 News Updates

It's one of Prime Minister Theresa May's key aims in talks to unstitch 40 years of EU membership.

In a government paper on the highly-sensitive topic which touches British sovereignty, Britain set out its determination in negotiations to reach a tailor-made agreement to enforce its own laws and resolve disputes once it has left the bloc in March 2019.

The paper drew attention to several EU agreements which do not require the Luxembourg-based court's direct jurisdiction over other countries - a clear attempt to encourage more flexibility among EU officials who are protective of the court.

May herself said breaking free of the ECJ's jurisdiction meant that Britain would be able to make its own laws and British judges and courts would enforce them.

"We will take back control of our laws," she told reporters in southern England.

Her words are intended to placate many pro-Brexit lawmakers in her governing Conservative Party who say the ECJ has slowly sucked power from Britain's courts and parliament.

But they could further harden the EU's stance on the court.

Many European officials see it as the ultimate arbiter of EU law and have said it should continue to guarantee the rights of EU citizens living in Britain after Brexit and oversee the Brexit agreement.

In the paper, Britain instead said its court would guarantee the rights of EU citizens or businesses in the country. "Those rights and obligations will be enforced by the UK courts and ultimately by the UK Supreme Court," it said.