Q&As

Are UK courts and tribunals bound by decisions of the Court of Justice of the European Union post-Brexit?

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Published on LexisPSL on 14/01/2021

The following Public Law Q&A provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Are UK courts and tribunals bound by decisions of the Court of Justice of the European Union post-Brexit?
  • Ending the jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the European Union in the UK
  • Before IP completion day
  • Post-IP completion day
  • Power to depart from retained EU case law
  • Jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the European Union in matters arising under the Withdrawal Agreement
  • Further reading

Are UK courts and tribunals bound by decisions of the Court of Justice of the European Union post-Brexit?

As of exit day (11pm on 31 January 2020) the UK is no longer an EU Member State and its relationship with the EU is governed by the Withdrawal Agreement. Exit day marked the start of an 11-month transition/implementation period during which the transitional arrangements under Part 4 of the Withdrawal Agreement applied.

The transition period was effectively a standstill period intended to maintain the legal status quo while the UK and the EU negotiated an agreement on their future relationship. The European Commission described the implementation period as ‘business as usual’ in the EU and the UK. The transition period ended on 31 December 2020 (referred to in UK law as IP completion day).

For background reading on the Withdrawal Agreement and associated transitional arrangements, see Practice Note: Brexit—introduction to the Withdrawal Agreement and Q&A: In the context of Brexit, what is meant by the ‘transition or implementation period’?

The Withdrawal Agreement was implemented in UK law by the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020 (EU(WA)A 2020), which amended key provisions of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (EU(W)A 2018) and associated Brexit legislation to reflect the transitional arrangements in domestic law. In particular:

  1. the repeal of the European Communities Act 1972, effective on exit day, was made subject

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