New President of Supreme Court calls for “clarity” from Parliament over ECJ judgments following Brexit

Parliament should give judges “as much clarity as possible” in setting out the UK’s relationship to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) after the UK leaves the European Union, Brenda Hale, the first female President of the Supreme Court, has urged. At her first press conference as head of the UK’s highest court, Lady Hale called on MPs to give sufficient guidance so that judges knew how far they should “take into account” future judgments from the Luxembourg court.

Lady Hale succeeded David Neuberger as President of the Supreme Court this month. Asked about what the future relationship should be between the Supreme Court and the ECJ, Lady Hale said: “We hope that the Withdrawal Act will tell us what we should be doing, saying 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.”

Referring to newspaper attacks on the judiciary following the Article 50 High Court judgment last year, in which judges were condemned as “enemies of the people”, Lady Hale observed: “The press are free to write and say what they wish to write and say. But [they should consider] how dangerous it may be to the rule of law – and that’s the glue which holds society together – if unjustified criticism gets out of hand.” 

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