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Brexit round-up – week commencing 20 Mar 2017

Matrix’s Legal Support Service provides a weekly round-up of Brexit-related links and news.

Brexit and the UK constitution

  1. Theresa May will reportedly face demands from the leaders of the UK’s devolved governments to radically rethink her approach to the union as she begins a four-nation tour before starting negotiations on Britain’s exit from the EU. In considering the possibility of a second Scottish independence referendum, the LSE blog argues why the question of Europe could actually keep the UK together (a poll by Opinium for The Observer shows that a majority of Britons believe the Brexit vote increases the chances to the UK breaking apart, with the figure higher in Scotland).
  2. On the UK Trade Policy Observatory blog, Paul Eden considers the possible legal basis of any unilateral right to revoke a notification of a notice of withdrawal made in accordance with TEU, arts 50(1) and 50(2).
  3. The Commons’ Justice Select Committee has said the Government should be prepared to accept the jurisdiction of the CJEU in some areas post-Brexit

The UK’s post-Brexit deal with the EU

  1. Downing Street has confirmed that Theresa May will trigger Article 50 on 29 Mar 2017, thus beginning the formal process of leaving the EU. However EU sources have stated that Britain could have to wait until June to begin formal talks, and indeed the EU will not hold its first Brexit summit until 29 Apr 2017.
  2. The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, has challenged Theresa May directly over her claim that she would be willing to walk away from the negotiating table, saying that failure to reach a deal would have serious repercussions for the UK. Meanwhile Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, has called Brexit “a failure and a tragedy”, though stating the EU is not in a hostile mood toward Britain, and hopes for a friendly relationship.
  3. Officials in the department overseeing Brexit are demanding a funding boost from Philip Hammond to help them deal with the process of leaving the EU as they will need to employ hundreds more staff. Meanwhile Philip Hammond has reportedly come under pressure from Eurosceptic Cabinet ministers to cap the upcoming Brexit ‘divorce bill’ at just £3bn. EU sources have stated that a failure to refer to multibillion-pound Brexit divorce bill in notification letter would receive condemnatory response.
  4. The House of Lords EU Select Committee has published a report considering justice for families, individuals and businesses post Brexit, stating that leaving the EU legal framework will pose risks for cross border disputes.
  5. The Institute for Government has warned the Government of the challenges that legislating for Brexit will bring, with the necessity of about 15 Brexit-related laws leaving ‘very little space’ for other legislation. Meanwhile MPs have told the Government that it should be prepared to accept the jurisdiction of the CJEU in some areas after the UK leaves the EU.
  6. Britain and Germany are set to sign a new defence pact as Theresa May signals her intention to play a significant role in European security after Brexit.
  7. More than 70 MPs have declared that  the BBC risks alienating itself from people who voted for Brexit if it continues its ‘pessimistic’ coverage of the EU departure, though Tony Hall has defended the news coverage.
  8. The latest report on Brexit by NatCen considers what “the people” want to emerge from the Brexit negotiations, suggesting that Britons want free trade (88%) but also want immigration control (69%).

Impact of Brexit on the economy

  1. The Government has published a response to the House of Lords EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee report into the future of fisheries in the light of the vote to leave the EU. It has also responded to the Lords’ committee report Brexit: financial services, meanwhile the NI Affairs Committee has called on the Treasury to investigate if post-Brexit tax powers can boost tourism.
  2. The CBI has published a report calling for higher R&D spending from business and Government, particularly with the giving of Article 50 notice imminent. The Guardian reports that this will help to Brexit-proof the UK economy.
  3. Politico has reported that British trade officials are discreetly exploring a 10 year interim arrangement with the EU in case a trade deal is not reached during exit negotiations.
  4. The Guardian has reported that Brexiters in the cabinet and other Conservative frontbenchers have privately told colleagues they are relaxed about the prospect of Britain crashing out of the EU on to World Trade Organisation rules.
  5. The bank’s European boss has confirmed that Goldman Sachs to start moving hundreds of staff out of London before a Brexit deal is struck.
  6. In a speech at the AFME Board Meeting, Sabine Lautenschlager, Member of the ECB Executive Board, stated that, post Brexit, UK banks seeking banking licences in Member States will have to apply for one from the ECB.
  7. A report by the OECD has stated that business pressure to weaken bribery laws and the Government’s inability to focus on non-Brexit issues are concerns suggesting Brexit could damage the UK’s efforts to tackle corruption.
  8. Fishing groups from nine EU countries have demanded continued access to UK waters post-Brexit, warning that UK fish supplies could otherwise lose tariff-free access to the continent.
  9. The latest Bank of England survey of around 700 British businesses has found firms saying they intend to invest more despite rising consumer prices and higher business costs.

Brexit as it affects Practice Areas:

Employment

A presentation by the Institute for Employment Studies offers an analysis of the potential impact of Brexit on the UK labour market and employment law.

Health

A post on The Conversation considers what a ‘no deal’ Brexit would mean for the healthcare of British pensioners living in Spain.

The European Law Blog has considered the issues arising from Brexit surrounding sickness insurance and mobile citizens.

Immigration

Michael Barnier, the EU Brexit negotiator, has agreed to meet campaigners on citizens’ rights, stating he is committed to addressing the issue ‘as a top priority’.

 

Environment

The EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee has launched an inquiry into the implications of Brexit for farm animal welfare.

Scottish farmers have told MSPs that there should be a UK-wide framework to replace the Common Agricultural Policy so the British market is not fragmented.