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Home Secretary and Justice Secretary face Lords' questions on opt-in and international agreements


In the final session of its inquiry into the UK's opt-in and international agreements, the House of Lords EU Justice, Institutions and Consumer Protection Sub-Committee will question the Home Secretary, the Rt Hon Theresa May MP, on Wednesday 14 January.

She will be joined in the session by the Rt Hon Chris Grayling, Justice Secretary and Lord Chancellor. The Home and Justice Secretaries will be questioned on a number of areas, including the duty of loyal cooperation; decisions made by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) and the UK's litigation strategy; the circumvention of the UK and Ireland's opt-in rights; and the interpretation of the Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) protocol.

This evidence session is the culmination of the Sub-Committee's inquiry into the Government's use of the Title V opt-in in international agreements and will inform a report that will be published in March 2015, assessing the Government's current policy and its impact.

The inquiry was launched following the Committee's consideration of a large number of EU international agreements where the Government had asserted that the opt-in Protocol applies to certain provisions within those agreements, despite a legal base in Title V TFEU not being cited. The Committee has routinely questioned this interpretation of the opt-in Protocol and the Government has maintained its assertion its right not to opt into provisions of international agreements based on their content. This has included unsuccessfully challenging a number of agreements where a Title V legal was not added before the European Court of Justice.

More specific issues the witnesses are likely to be questioned on include:

  • whether the UK is right to assert that it can opt out of JHA measures when no other Member States agree;
  • whether the Commission is seeking to deny the UK its right to opt out of JHA measures;
  • the success of the UK's litigation strategy in the light of recent judgments of the ECJ; and
  • the Government's view on the implications of the Philippines judgement, that it has taken eight months to assess.

The evidence session will take place on Wednesday 14 January, at 4pm in Committee Room 1 of the House of Lords.

The session will be webcast at www.parliamentlive.tv and is 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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