Law Society urges the Government not to opt out of EU crime measures

Labour Party

We have yet another interesting twist to the repatriation of powers debate. No less an institution than the Law Society wants the Tory-led coalition to remain opted into the 130 EU crime and policing measures currently under threat from Theresa May.

In a letter to the The Times’ Editor of 28 January, the Law Society urged the Government to “reconsider its position” over the proposal to opt out of over 130 EU crime and policing measures. The Chairs of two Law Society committees, Richard Atkinson QC and Mark Clough QC, warn that “the implications if the UK chooses to opt out … are of great concern. The proposal … (announced with no public consultation) is likely to create significant unnecessary cost for the UK at a time of major cutbacks, not least across all areas of our criminal justice system.”

Two of this country’s most senior lawyers recognise that “many of the measures are vital to address cross-border crime” and that none of them “have been demonstrated to be harmful to the way our criminal justice system operates”. Withdrawing from the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) could lead to “suspects being held in pre-trial detention for longer periods with the resultant extra costs”. Instead “the UK should be working with its EU partners to improve the EAW and the procedural rights of suspects and victims”.