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Brexit round-up – week commencing 3 Apr 2017

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

Brexit and the UK constitution

  1. The Director of Chatham House, Dr Robin Niblett CMG, has discussed the complexities of Brexit, and why Theresa May’s domestic battles could be equally as contentious as the EU negotiations over the next two years.
  2. Global Justice have produced a paper considering the Great Repeal Bill, Addressing unaccountable power.
  3. Professor Piet Eeckhout has written an article for The UK in a Changing Europe considering the aspects of EU and UK constitutional law which may allow Brexit to be stopped. For the Erasmus Forum, Victoria Bateman has considered Brexit as a contradiction in the pursuit of progress alongside the human desire for stability.
  4. The Statement of Case for the claim being brought in the Irish High Court, on unilaterial revocation of Article 50 notice, has been published.
  5. It’s reported that “senior legal experts” have warned that Holyrood and the Scottish government need to take urgent action to cope with the unprecedented legislative challenges posed by the UK’s departure from the EU.

The UK’s post-Brexit deal with the EU

  1. The Council of the EU has set out its draft negotiating guidelines for Brexit, with Donald Tusk making remarks on these next steps following the UK notification of withdrawal.
  2. There has been controversy as these draft guidelines state that no agreement between the UK and EU may apply to Gibraltar without the agreement of Spain. However, Spain has urged the British government to keep a cool head in the negotiations over the future of Gibraltar after the former Conservative leader Michael Howard suggested Theresa May would be prepared to go to war to protect the territory as Margaret Thatcher once did over the Falklands.
  3. A draft resolution setting out conditions for approving UK withdrawal agreement endorsed by the European Parliament’s Conference of Presidents was debated and voted on by the full Parliament. It was drawn up by leaders of four political groups and the Constitutional Affairs Committee, and sets out conditions for a final approval by the European Parliament of any withdrawal agreement with the UK. This was approved.
  4. Theresa May has met with Donald Tusk to discuss the way ahead for Brexit, and she has begun to dismantle obstacles to Brexit, such as accepting the need for a transition agreement.
  5. The Exiting the EU Committee has published a report considering the Government’s negotiating objectives, though some pro-Brexit Tory MPs have disowned the ‘negative’ findings within the report. The House of Lords EU External Affairs Sub-Committee has launched a new inquiry into the UK sanctions policy after Brexit. Meanwhile the House of Commons Library has published a paper summarising the starting points of the UK and the EU institutions at the beginning of the art 50 process.
  6. The House of Commons European Scrutiny Committee has published a report on Brexit and the Government’s approach to European scrutiny, and the House of Commons Library has published a paper considering what EU Directives are and what will happen to them post Brexit.
  7. Jonathan Powell, Tony Blair’s former chief of staff, has stated that Brexit is the most difficult negotiation seen in his lifetime. Meanwhile, Chancellor Philip Hammond has stated in an interview with Blomberg Politics that some within the Conservative Party oppose reaching any agreement with the EU, though some Cabinet Eurosceptics are backing the PM’s softer approach to Brexit.
  8. Meanwhile Dr Angus Armstrong for the LSE Brexit blog has considered the different paths the UK could take through the Brexit negotiations and Andrew Duff for Policy Network has set out some suggested guidelines for reaching a soft Brexit. Janos Martonyi for the Wilfried Centre for European Studies has discussed the negotiations’ legal framework and political constraints.
  9. Mishcon de Reye and Kreab have published their April Brexit report, bringing news of the tone and mood of the negotiators to the statements and intentions communicated by the EU27. Meanwhile Herbert Smith Freehills have produced a report discussing the Government’s white paper on the Great Repeal Bill.
  10. The Association of British Travel Agents is urging the Government to protect the many benefits currently enjoyed by UK holidaymakers under EU membership, including visa-free travel and free or reduced healthcare, in Brexit negotiations.

Impact of Brexit on the economy

  1. The Lords’ Library has published a briefing giving an overview of the WTO, and considering how the UK would trade with the EU under WTO rules if no trade deal is reached.
  2. The Telegraph reports on new analysis which has claimed that farmers across Europe will suffer if the UK unilaterally drops tariffs on food imports after Brexit, in a move that will increase competition and reduce costs for British families.
  3. According to the Financial Times, despite uncertainty over Brexit, central bankers from around the world see the UK as a safer prospect for their reserve investments than the Eurozone. Nonetheless, citing risks of stagnant profitability and increased legal complexity, the Bank of England has asked to see City companies’ Brexit plans.
  4. In an interview with Sky News in Jordan, Theresa May confirmed that Britain’s final signed trade deal with the EU will have to take place after the two-year Article 50 process and that the UK will become a “third country”. However, Politico has argued that an interim EU trade deal will hit UK services hard.
  5. A survey by ICM has found that nearly half of voters say a £3bn Brexit divorce bill is unacceptable, two thirds object to a £10bn bill and 70% object to a £20bn one.
  6. Philip Hammond has stated that trade with India will be ‘more important than ever’ after Brexit.
  7. EEF has published a paper considering a new trading order for the UK manufacturing industry with the EU post Brexit, whilst Open Europe has written a paper with a plan for UK-EU trade outside the Customs Union.
  8. Ryanair has warned it may have to suspend UK flights in the weeks or months following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU in 2019 if an early aviation deal is not agreed.

Brexit as it affects Practice Areas:

Competition and Regulatory

Lexology has published a discussion of what might change in competition law following Brexit.

Data Protection

Gov.uk has published a fact sheet on the future of intellectual property laws following the decision for the UK to leave the EU.

Employment

Following the triggering of art 50, Bird & Bird have discussed the latest position on the implications of Brexit for employment and immigration law.

Immigration

Theresa May has suggested that there may be continued EU free movement after Brexit during an ‘implementation’ phase.

For the Centre for Global Development, Ian Mitchell and Anita Kappeli have argued that the end of the UK-EU free movement should re-set the debate on UK migration policy.

Environment

An article on The Conversation discusses the risks to the environment posed by Brexit, as not all EU environmental protections are set to be transposed.

The risks to the energy sector following Brexit are considered in a paper by the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies.

Energy experts speaking at an event organised by the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit have warned that vital energy projects including the £18bn Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant and interconnectors used to import cheap electricity from Europe are under threat due to Brexit.

Events

  1. The British Institute of International and Comparative Law is running an event on 2 May 2017 considering the implications of Brexit for competition law and policy.