British officials say the U.K. will leave the "direct jurisdiction" of the European Court of Justice after Brexit — but the court's rulings could still carry weight in Britain.

Prime Minister Theresa May's government has repeatedly said Britain will no longer be bound by rulings of the Luxembourg-based European Union court once it quits the bloc in 2019. May said Wednesday that the U.K. Supreme Court "will be the arbiter" of British laws.

The reality is more complex, and illustrates some of the challenges involved in disentangling the U.K. and EU systems.

Outlining potential future arrangements, Britain's Department for Exiting the European Union said a possible model was the one used by non-EU countries such as Iceland and Norway, which requires that "due account" be taken of EU court rulings.