Sunday 18 February 2018

Analysis: EU court has long been a red rag to Brexiteers - but stance may soften

There is absolutely no gainsaying the EU Courts’ unavoidable potential to affect all our daily lives. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
There is absolutely no gainsaying the EU Courts’ unavoidable potential to affect all our daily lives. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
John Downing

John Downing

Most sensible people want to keep lawyers and law courts as far as possible from their lives. Across the world, the courts are too expensive, stressful and risky - and they are replete with tales of pyrrhic victories, where the costs involved can far exceed any potential remedy for the original disputed problem.

The EU Court of Justice in Luxembourg, some 200km to the south-west of the Euro centre of Brussels, is no exception to this rule. It is among the lesser-known EU institutions, which, given the lack of interest in such matters, is saying something.

But every now and again the EU Court of Justice has crashed its way into the nitty-gritty of Irish life. In 1990, the court delivered a slap in the teeth to the Dublin government when it struck down the infamous "48-hour rule" which banned duty-free shopping for people outside the Republic of Ireland jurisdiction for less than two days.

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