Brexit: Michel Barnier gives update on state of negotiations
The Prime Minister appointed 10 experienced lawyers to the newly-created panel, which came into effect this weekend. The panel will also consist of 10 representatives appointed by the EU, whilst five will be jointly appointed by both sides.
The Withdrawal Agreement sets out the terms of the withdrawal of the UK from the EU and Euratom and includes a Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland.
The agreement also sets out the future relationship of the UK with the EU in core policy areas.
Government listings reveal former Lord Justice of Appeal Sir Patrick Elias and Deputy Senior Presiding Judge for England and Wales Peter Gross will serve on the panel.
Former legal advisor to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Sir Daniel Bethlehem has been appointed as a Chairman to the Panel.
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Whitehall officials stressed the top chiefs “possess specialised knowledge or experience of Union law and public international law”.
A Cabinet Office document also stressed the officials would be politically neutral, adding: “The Union and the United Kingdom have jointly proposed five persons for the position of chairperson of the arbitration panel, and have each proposed ten persons for the position of member of the arbitration panel.”
Boris Johnson said any disputes resulting from talks with the EU would be dealt with by “third-party arbitration” if they occurred but stressed they would be unlikely.
When asked whether he expected “significant litigation” with the UK, EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier told French newspaper Le Figaro: “There is obviously a risk but I do not want to make a trial of intent here.”
When asked how the EU will make sure the UK will stick to its side of the agreement, EU Commission president Ursula Von der Leyen said at a press conference: “We have strong measures that can be taken if one party does not play by the rules.”
Tensions between both sides rose after the EU threatened legal action earlier this year against the UK Government after Mr Johnson put forward legislation would overwrite the withdrawal agreement and break international law.
Ms von der Leyen said the UK had been put on formal notice under controversial clauses put in the Internal Market Bill tabled by Boris Johnson.
Mr Johnson later dropped them following joint talks between Mr Gove and the Bloc.
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The document concluded: “The list is to comprise persons whose independence is beyond doubt, who possess the qualifications required for appointment to the highest judicial office in their respective countries or who are jurisconsults of recognised competence.”
The UK fully cut all ties with the EU on New Year’s Eve at the end of the transition period.
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