After Brexit. Implications for the justice system

Thursday, 22 February, 2018

Yesterday we held a private roundtable on the implications of Brexit for the rights of suspects and defendants.

An engaged and knowledgeable audience heard from three speakers. Professor Ed Cape from the University of the West of England gave an overview of the procedural rights for suspects and defendants and the mutual cooperation in the European Union.

Jago Russell, Chief Executive of Fair Trials, spoke about the European Arrest Warrant. Jodie Blackstock, Legal Director of Justice, spoke about procedural safeguards for suspects and defendants.

The event was the first of three planned private roundtables considering the implications of Brexit for the criminal justice system. The other two planned events will be looking at victims' rights, and the rights of imprisoned people and those subject to other criminal justice sanctions. We also hope to produce some associated Brexit working papers.

In his opening remarks, our Director, Richard Garside, said:

The Centre has a particular concern with the impact of criminal justice interventions on suspects and defendants, victims and witnesses, people with convictions, their friends, families and the wider community. The focus of these planned events is therefore important in our view.

I hope that the series will complement the interesting and important work on Brexit being undertaken by a number of other institutions and experts.

During his presentation, Ed Cape quoted the expert on European criminal law, Valsamis Mitsilegas, to highlight the possibility that the post-Brexit UK might be subject to more, not less, EU law than it is currently subject to as a member state:

[T]he United Kingdom’s willingness to continue to reap the security benefits of EU co-operation after Brexit can be accommodated only if the UK complies fully with the EU acquis, including the acquis on the protection of fundamental rights, part of which it is currently at liberty to disregard under its 'opt-outs' as an EU Member State. Brexit will thus bring the United Kingdom in the paradoxical position of having to accept more EU law than it currently does as an EU member State.

Ed Cape's introduction, the the slides from Jodie Blackstock's presentation, can be downloaded below.

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