The UK will no longer be under the direct jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) after Brexit, a government policy paper will say. Ministers say they want a special partnership with the EU, but it is neither necessary nor appropriate for the ECJ to police it. However critics say the word direct leaves room for the ECJ to still play a part.
The pro-EU Open Britain group said the phrase paved the way for a climbdown over the jurisdiction of the court.
Speaking on behalf of the group, Labour MP Chuka Umunna said: Nothing the government says it wants to deliver from Brexit - be it on trade, citizens' rights, or judicial co-operation - can be achieved without a dispute resolution system involving some role for European judges.
But Leave campaigner Bernard Jenkin told the Daily Telegraph the court should not have any role post-Brexit. No non-EU country will be much interested in talking to us about a free trade agreement if we still look hobbled by our relationship to the EU, added the Conservative MP.
Prime Minister Theresa May has promised to take the UK out of the Luxembourg-based ECJ's jurisdiction after Brexit. But the question of how future agreements between the UK and the EU will be enforced is proving contentious.
The policy paper will be released later as ministers argue there are plenty of other ways of resolving disputes without the European courts.
The ECJ is in charge of ensuring member states abide by EU law. Its rulings are binding on all member states, and it also settles disputes between countries and EU institutions.
After the UK voted to leave the EU last year, Mrs. May promised to make the UK a fully independent, sovereign country.
But pro-EU campaigners say the government made an appalling error by making leaving the ECJ a red line in Brexit negotiations, saying new courts will now be needed in all the areas it extends to, including trade, citizens' rights and security.
Brexit Secretary David Davis, who will resume negotiations with Brussels on 28 August, has spoken of the arbitration arrangements that will be needed in areas where the UK and the EU make new arrangements - but insists these will not involve the ECJ.
Sir Keir Starmer, Labor's shadow Brexit secretary, said: The prime minister's ideological insistence that there can be no future role whatsoever for the ECJ or any similar court-like body risks preventing the deal Britain needs.
Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable said Mrs May's red lines are becoming more blurred by the day, saying the ECJ had served Britain's interests well and should not be trashed.