Brexit threatens to ‘tear’ Ireland out of the common law system – judge


Brexit is expected to “wrest” Ireland from the influence of the common law system and “possibly even sever” the centuries-old ties between the Irish and English legal systems, a prominent Irish judge has said.

Gerard Hogan, who was appointed Advocate General of the EU Court of Justice last year, warned there would be “very significant pressure” on the state to be part of a system homogeneous civil law over the next 10 to 15 years that would be “very difficult, if not impossible, for us to stay out.”

The former High Court judge said the Irish and English legal systems came together “almost like an umbilical cord” but that would “change fundamentally” after the UK leaves the EU.

“It’s like one of those Apollo missions: the mothership is finally detached and the big mothership pulls away and we’re almost in the lunar lander somewhere between Earth and the Moon,” a- he said at the EU Bar Association’s annual conference near the four courts in Dublin.

It “might not be a very comfortable place,” he said, and English courts had yet to come to terms with this or what they would do with their legacy of EU law for four. decades.

While the Irish legal system is intellectually prepared for Brexit, if and in any form its long-term impact is likely to be substantial, he said.

“Over time, we are going to be more and more estranged and valued from the English legal system and this common law heritage,” he said.

Previous system

Under the common law, judges apply legal precedents based on court decisions, and this is followed in Ireland, the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia.

Civil law, which is followed in most countries – including the member states of the European Union – requires judges to apply legislative decisions to cases under consideration.

Attorney General Séamus Woulfe SC disagreed, arguing that after 45 years in the EU it would be “very difficult” for the English legal system to disengage from EU law.

The current “generation of judges” in Britain, he said, “very slow” to isolate the United Kingdom.

“The fear of isolation will lead them to be inclined to European law which will continue indirectly for some time. “

Mr Woulfe questioned whether the UK might actually come out, given the political divide in Westminster.

“It didn’t happen last Friday, it probably won’t happen next Friday, it probably won’t happen on June 30,” he said, referring to the latest UK date considering delaying Brexit.

Second referendum

The prospect of a second referendum on leaving the EU “is rising more and more,” Woulfe said.

While Tories and Labor might struggle to agree on a referendum in their talks, there was “a gray comfort” in a unity government where they could let the people decide, he said. .

Mr Hogan said he saw “a real possibility of attracting a lot of legal firms to these coasts”, given that Ireland would be the only English-speaking country and the only “pure” common law system in the EU. after leaving the UK.


Comments are closed.