Brexit and the Law – Law Society Report
Guidance: Status of EU citizens in the UK: what you need to know
Enforcement Post Brexit
In the UK it is suggested that EU Regulations can be transposed into domestic law via the so-called “Great Repeal Bill” or The European Union (withdrawal) Bill. English courts will continue to apply an essentially similar regime post-Brexit. This would be applicable for the Rome I and II Regulations. In contrast, the Brussels I Recast Regulation depends upon reciprocity and sincere cooperation between member states. If the UK is not a member of the agreed scheme then transposing the Brussels I rules into UK domestic law is of no assistance. The ease of recognition and enforcement of judgments under the Brussels I (Recast) would be lost. It is possible that superseded international conventions, such as the Brussels Convention 1968 and the Lugano Convention 1988, might spring back to life and that also old judgment recognition conventions may revive in significance after Brexit. However, we encourage our clients to commence cross-border enforcement proceedings between the UK and Germany, as soon as possible, in order to benefit from the great degree of certainty that the Brussels I (Recast) Regulation provides.
BREXIT - Implications for the different areas of law
Since Prime Minister Theresa May triggered Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty on 29 March 2017, beginning the formal process of negotiating the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union, the primary question is what impacts Brexit will have to contractual parties and different areas of law. It is already foreseeable that international performance may become more difficult and costly.
The general uncertainty posed by the pre-negotiation and political statements as well as Article 50 negotiations is a cause of volatility in forex markets. Furthermore, concrete changes to the infrastructure of import and export will most likely increase supply chain costs and changes to customs law may impose unforeseen costs such as trade tariffs.
However, it is difficult to predict what the exact implications of Brexit will be. It is likely that the potential implications will differ in the various areas of law. It is predicted that Brexit might have a high impact to the financial service sector and in the field of competition law whereas a medium impact is expected to occur in the areas of commercial, corporate, employment and insolvency law. A low impact is estimated to arise in the legal fields of arbitration, family and planning.
In the end, it can be said that the concrete level of impact will depend on the extent of EU law governing in the specific area of law as well as on the fact whether EU law has already been implemented into domestic law or not. To date, one does not know whether UK’s plan to introduce the “Great Repeal Bill” which will repeal the European Communities Act 1972 and incorporate EU law into domestic law can effectively be realised.
The Legal Consequences Following the “Brexit” Vote
On 23 June 2016 British voters by a majority of 51.9% voted in favour of the UK leaving the European Union (EU). In the face of potential uncertainties following from this result one must not forget that UK will remain a fully-fledged member of the EU for at least a further 24 months. Therefore all relevant European laws will still be effective and enforceable in the UK. The question of when "Brexit" will actually happen depends on when the UK government triggers the application under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. Effectively this is a declaration to the European Council of the U.K.'s intention to exit the EU (see an extract of the relevant wording from the treaty below), following which future UK-EU relations will be negotiated. Although future developments cannot yet be predicted, we at ZIMMERs will be taking a close interest in "Brexit" and its consequences in order to advise you of the important changes in particular to employment, consumer protection, transport and customs law.
1. Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements.
2. A Member State which decides to withdraw shall notify the European Council of its intention. In the light of the guidelines provided by the European Council, the Union shall negotiate and conclude an agreement with that State, setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal, taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union. That agreement shall be negotiated in accordance with Article 218(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. It shall be concluded on behalf of the Union by the Council, acting by a qualified majority, after obtaining the consent of the European Parliament.
3. The Treaties shall cease to apply to the State in question from the date of entry into force of the withdrawal agreement or, failing that, two years after the notification referred to in paragraph 2, unless the European Council, in agreement with the Member State concerned, unanimously decides to extend this period.
Further current information on “Brexit” can be found on the webpage of the Law Society here: