UK walks away from the UPC shortly after walking away from the EU.

The UK recently published its negotiating mandate for its forthcoming divorce talks with the EU. The overall policy framework specifies that “the Government will not negotiate any arrangement in which the UK does not have control of its own laws and political life. That means that we will not agree to any obligations for our laws to be aligned with the EU’s, or for the EU’s institutions, including the Court of Justice, to have any jurisdiction in the UK”. Thus, the death knell rings out for the UK’s participation in the UPC system, since a fundamental aspect of the UPC is the primacy of the Court of Justice of the European Union (Articles 20 & 21 of the UPC Agreement).

Since the UK triggered Article 50, doubt has been cast over the viability of the UPC. One of the conditions for entry into force of the UPC Agreement is ratification by Germany, the UK, and France. France ratified the UPC Agreement in 2014, but a constitutional challenge remains pending before the German Courts. The UK parliament ratified the UPC Agreement in 2018, but the UK now looks like it will not accept the CJEU having overall jurisdiction over the UPC system.

If you would like more information on the implications of Brexit or the UPC, we have published an infographic and a series of articles addressing different facets of the system; or you can contact Con O’Connor or Donal M Kelly.


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