Ministry of Justice
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Your views wanted for EU review on civil and family justice

Lawyers, business groups and the public are all being asked to submit their views on the balance of competences between the UK and the European Union on civil judicial cooperation (including family matters).

The Balance of Competences Review was announced by the Foreign Secretary William Hague in July 2012 taking forward the Government commitment to examine the balance of competences between the UK and the European Union.

The Ministry of Justice is leading on the strand of the review covering civil judicial cooperation and is seeking views from individuals and groups with an interest or experience in civil policy and its application on how the competence is used and what that means for the UK.

Justice Minister Lord McNally said:

“The debate about civil and family justice policy and impact of any enlargement of the EU on civil judicial cooperation must be based on analysis not emotion.

“The Balance of Competences Review will allow us to do just this. We are asking for information and views to develop a comprehensive and detailed analysis of the functioning of civil judicial cooperation, and an understanding of the nature of our EU membership.”

The review will run for twelve weeks, and is an audit of how EU law and its operation and enforcement affect the UK. It is intended to develop a comprehensive and detailed analysis of how civil judicial cooperation impacts on the operation of the internal market, and consider the impact of any future enlargement of the EU.

Anyone wishing to contribute should submit their evidence before midday on 5 August 2013 to A report on the outcome of the review will be published in December 2013.

Notes to Editors

  1. Read the call for evidence
  2. The Balance of Competences Review will provide an analysis of what the UK’s membership of the EU means for the UK national interest. It will not produce specific recommendations and will not prejudge future policy, nor will it look at alternative models for the UK’s overall relationship with the EU.
  3. The Review is broken down into a series of reports on specific areas of EU competence, spread over four semesters between autumn 2012 and autumn 2014. It is led by the Government but will also involve non-governmental experts, organisations and other individuals who wish to contribute their views. Foreign governments, including our EU partners and the EU institutions, are also being invited to submit responses. The process will be comprehensive, evidence-based and analytical. The progress of the review will be transparent, including in respect of the contributions submitted. Further information can be found on the FCO website.
  4. The term ‘competence’ is used to describe the powers, conferred on the EU by the Member States, to undertake specific actions. The EU’s competences are set out in the EU Treaties, which provide the legal basis for any actions taken by the EU institutions. The EU can only act within the limits of the competences conferred on it by the Treaties. This means there must be a legal basis for the EU to act.
  5. For more information contact the MoJ Press Office newsdesk on 020 3334 3536 and follow us @MoJPress on Twitter.

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