Northumbria law academic questioned by MPs about Brexit

17th January 2017

A leading law academic at Northumbria University was asked to give evidence during a session of the House of Commons Justice Committee’s inquiry on the implications of Brexit for the justice system.

Professor Tim Wilson joined Francis FitzGibbon QC, the Chair of the Criminal Bar Association and Michael Gray, of Gray and Co Solicitors, who is the Chair of the Criminal Law Solicitors’ Association in Westminster to be questioned by the Committee’s MPs.

The committee discussed research by Northumbria law academics on international criminal justice cooperation.

Professor Wilson, who is Professor of Criminal Justice Policy at Northumbria Law School, said: “What I found fascinating, as we began to answer the MPs’ questions, was the consistency between the views expressed on behalf of the two branches of the profession and the conclusions reached by Northumbria researchers.

“We all stressed the importance of the current EU cooperation arrangements. These range from the European Arrest Warrant to the international sharing of conviction information through the ECRIS system.”

Northumbria research has demonstrated that the proportion of crime committed by EU citizens is smaller than the numbers of such individuals among the residents or visitors to this country. Some of the crimes committed by EU citizens in the UK, however, have been very serious, including murder and armed robbery. Similarly, serious crimes are committed by UK citizens abroad.

All three speakers emphasised that there were no alternative international criminal justice cooperation measures that could equal the speed, efficiency and scope of the EU arrangements for providing justice for victims and protection against serious crime, including terrorism.

They urged that these measures should not be weakened or abandoned during or after the Article 50 negotiations or when the UK eventually leaves the EU.

Professor Wilson had been invited to be questioned by MPs as a result of sending the Committee a summary of multi-disciplinary research undertaken by a group of Northumbria staff within the University’s Centre for Evidence and Criminal Justice Studies. They are Dr Michael Stockdale, Adam Jackson, Gemma Davies and Emma Piasecki from the Law School, together with Sophie Carr, Applied Science and Derek Johnson, Geography.

Professor Wilson added: “It is always a daunting prospect to be invited to give evidence to Parliament to assist a select committee inquiry. While I have done so on several occasions before, on this occasion, I felt a special responsibility to make effective use of the evidence and insights to be found in my colleagues’ published and forthcoming academic articles.”

A recording of the oral evidence session can be watched at http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/justice-committee/news-parliament-20151/criminal-law-implications-of-brexit-for-the-justice-system-evidence-16-17/ .

The NCECJS written evidence to the Justice Committee is available on the Northumbria Research Link at http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/28765/1/NCECJS%20as%20published%20by%20the%20Justice%20Committee%20on%2029%20November.pdf

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