EAST Lancashire MEP Sajjad Karim has welcomed new rules on cross-border legal disputes.

He said they will make it cheaper and easier for businesses and consumers in the UK to protect their rights across the EU.

Mr Karim, of Simonstone, the Tory legal affairs spokesman in the European Parliament, said EU-wide recognition of civil court rulings would be a boost to trade, a reassurance to consumers and a further step towards an effective single market.

He was speaking as European justice ministers sitting in the EU Council adopted reformed rules to determine which national court has jurisdiction in cross-border cases and how court judgments issued in one EU country are recognised and enforced in another. These reforms follow a vote by the European Parliament on November 20 and will bring benefits to those businesses and consumers across the region that face legal disputes in other EU countries, saving a significant amount of both time and money.

He said: “This ruling can save millions of pounds for businesses and consumers if they get caught up for whatever reason in cross-border legal disputes within the EU. It will also make life harder for business cheats who think cross-border legal cases will be too costly and complex to for aggrieved clients to pursue.”