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Lords question UK and EU legal experts on Opt-Out

The joint inquiry by two of the Lords EU Sub-Committees – Home Affairs, Health and Education, chaired by Lord Hannay of Chiswick, and Justice, Institutions and Consumer Protection, chaired by Lord Bowness – will quiz UK and EU legal experts on Wednesday 16 January.

In the first session, at 11am, the Committees will hear from the following representatives from the Centre for European Legal Studies:

  • Professor John Spencer and Dr Alicia Hinarejos, University of Cambridge; and
  • Professor Steve Peers, University of Essex.

Professor Spencer is also President of the European Criminal Law Association – UK.

Following on, at 12pm, the Committee will question:

  • Richard Atkinson, Chair of the Criminal Law Committee, Law Society of England and Wales;
  • Professor James Chalmers, member of the Criminal Law Committee, Law Society of Scotland;
  • Helen Malcolm QC, Vice-Chair of the EU Law Committee and Chair of the EU Criminal Law Sub-Committee, Bar Council; and
  • James Wolffe QC, from the Faculty of Advocates.

The Committee will use both sessions to explore with the witnesses issues around whether or not the Government should exercise the opt-out and, if so, which measures it should opt back in to, the legal process for doing so and any uncertainty that may arise as a result.

The witnesses will also be asked if they have any concerns about the extension of the European Court of Justice's jurisdiction, the desirability of reforming the European Arrest Warrant and the feasibility of the UK relying upon alternative international legal instruments to cooperate with other European countries on cross-border crime. 

The evidence sessions will take place on Wednesday 16 January in Committee Room 3 of the House of Lords and will be webcast live at

The evidence sessions are also open to the public. Journalists wishing to attend should go to Parliament's Cromwell Green Entrance and should allow time for security screening.

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