Europe's highest court will hold sway over British cases for years

Europe’s highest court will still hold sway over British cases for years to come until final Brexit deal is agreed, UK’s most senior judges say

  • Cases involving EU law will still be referred to the European Court of Justice
  • Ruling came on Wednesday in relation to a mistake over VAT charges
  • Supreme Court deputy president Lord Howe claims there is still no clear answer regarding the dispute in usage of EU law 
  • Martin Howe, QC, chairman of Lawyers for Britain claimed it was the ‘inevitable consequence of the highly flawed withdrawal agreement’

Supreme Court deputy president, Lord Hodge, claims there is still no clear answer in a dispute over the usage of EU law

UK Courts are set to still be under EU jurisdiction until Brexit is fully completed, according to UK’s top judges.

In cases involving EU law, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled on Wednesday it will still be forced to refer to the European Court of Justice.

The statement came in a ruling on Wednesday relating to a mistake over VAT charges.

The EU legal jurisdiction over UK laws will leave Brexit supporters furious, as they have long demanded for the ruling to end. 

A mail order company selling vitamins and minerals called Zipvit made a claim against HM Revenue and Customs after the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) made a ruling that VAT should have been charged on supplies by Royal Mail.  

Deputy president of the Supreme Court, Lord Hodge said though claims that there is still no clear answer in a dispute over the usage of EU law. 

Martin Howe, QC, chairman of Lawyers for Britain claimed it was the ‘inevitable consequence of the highly flawed withdrawal agreement’

‘This court has examined the case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union bearing on the issues in this case,’ he said.

‘By a unanimous decision, this court finds that this case law does not provide a clear answer to the issues posed by Zipvit’s claim.

‘It is common ground that, at this stage in the process of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union, in a case involving an issue of EU law which is not clear, this court is still obliged to refer that issue to the CJEU to obtain its advice on the point.

‘Therefore, this court makes an order for a reference and sets out the questions for the CJEU to answer to enable this court to determine whether Zipvit’s claim is correctly made or not.’

Royal Mail supplied postal services to Zipvit but at the time they were supplied it was understood by both parties that these services were exempt from VAT.

Zipvit’s claim is that it is entitled to recover part of the price it paid to Royal Mail for postal services as if it had been VAT as input tax.

Martin Howe, QC, chairman of Lawyers for Britain, stated that the Supreme Court decision was the ‘inevitable consequence of the highly flawed withdrawal agreement’.

The ruling comes following a claim made by mail order company Zipfit, which sells vitamins and minerals, against HMRC

‘It highlights that the UK will suffer continuing interferences to the sovereignty of our legal system for many years to come, from a court which is now entirely foreign, contains no UK judge, and has no duty to uphold the interests of the UK now we are not a member state.

‘This judgement illustrates the vital need to modify the parts of the withdrawal agreement, which will require the UK to be bound by rulings of the ECJ after the transition period ends on December 31 this year.’

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