The Law Society has highlighted the potential issues that leaving the EU without an agreement could have on the judicial system.

Christine Blacklaws, The Society’s president, said last week that a no-deal will make it harder to investigate cross-border crime and arrest suspects: “Under the EAW criminals can easily be repatriated to their home state, but if the UK exits without a deal we may end up relying on a treaty from the 1950s. Even where the 1957 European Extradition Convention is still in place, the process is lengthy, costly and taxpayers will end up footing the bill – Switzerland still uses it so the evidence of the system’s defects are there for all to see.

“The absence of clear guidance or information about contingency planning when it comes to criminal justice is deeply troubling as there will be immediate consequences from a no deal and any new agreements can only be forged once Britain has left the EU leaving a significant gap in our ability to fight crime and terrorism.”

Blacklaw also highlighted that a no-deal would also make it more difficult for victims to get compensation.

At present, the UK has several agreements with the 27 members states to facilitate cooperation in fighting crime and terrorism, including:

  • European Arrest Warrant (EAW) – this speeds up requests by one member state to another for the surrender of accused or convicted people
  • European Investigation Order (EIO) – which facilitates the gathering of evidence in another member state of the EU
  • Europol – this agency supports member states’ responses to cross-border crime
  • EU Judicial cooperation unit (Eurojust) – coordinates investigation and prosecution of cross border crime.


The above agreements would come to an end following a no-deal Brexit on 29th March.

Blacklaw also commented: If on 29 March we crash out of the EU without a deal among the only people cheering will be criminals and those who wish us harm. It will be harder to investigate cross-border crime, harder to arrest suspects and remove them to face justice, harder to get compensation for victims.

“At the moment of departure, when it comes to criminal justice, all manner of issues will be left unresolved and solicitors will have to pick their way through 27 different justice systems instead of just one – the EU’s.”


NALP host first ever National Paralegal Day

Last week, the National Association of Licensed Paralegals hosted the first ever National Paralegal Day. Hosted on 14th March, the event was held at the House of Commons. It was sponsored by Fabian Hamilton MP, and MC'd by actor and comedian Rob Hitchmough (best known...

Are UK law firms prepared for Brexit?

As the UK prepares to leave the EU, a Bellwether research paper published by LexisNexis UK reveals there is 'overwhelming inaction' on the part of independent law firms to prepare for Brexit.According to the Global Legal Post, a large portion of firms...

Best law firms for work/life balance 2019

Legal Cheek has revealed the best law firms for work/life balance in 2019.A good work/life balance isn't just about avoiding long hours at work. It's also about having an open mind, exploring flexible working, avoiding 'presenteeism' and not emailing staff...

You are invited to Legalex 2019

On the 27th & 28th, March thousands of dedicated legal professionals will flood to the ExCeL, London for LegalEx 2019. Legalex is Europe’s most comprehensive and all-encompassing trade show for legal professionals and the business behind the solicitor. Over 3,000...

Share This