The government has played down claims that Britons could lose their right to sue ministers for breaking the law after Brexit.
Today’s Times reports that a clause is being drawn in the EU Repeal Bill that could ban individuals and companies from bringing compensation claims against Whitehall.
Since the Francovich v Italy ruling in 1991, citizens have been able to sue member states for damages if their rights were infringed by a failure to implement EU law into domestic law.
However, ministers are reportedly set to debate a clause in the bill next month that will call for there to be no right for damages ‘on or after exit in accordance with Francovich’.
Martha Spurrier, director of civil rights group Liberty, told the paper that the ‘chilling clause’ would quietly take away of the British people’s most vital tools for defending their rights in areas such as environment and employment.
The government has however rejected claims that this would deny Britons the right to claim damages.
A spokesperson for the Department for Exiting the EU said: ‘The UK has a longstanding tradition of ensuring our rights and liberties are protected.
‘The right to Francovich damages is linked to EU membership - the government therefore considers that this will no longer be relevant after we leave.’
The government stressed it will still be possible under UK law for individuals to receive damages or compensation for any losses caused by breach of the law.