Brexit round-up – week commencing 30 Jan 2017


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

Brexit and the UK constitution

  1. The House of Lords EU Select Committee has launched a new inquiry into the implications of Brexit on devolution. Prior to talks with the devolved administrations, and in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling in Miller, Theresa May reiterated that they don’t have a veto over the Brexit process, and that relations with the EU will be determined by the UK Government. Nonetheless, Nicola Sturgeon has given Theresa May a two month deadline for a compromise over Brexit, hinting at a second independence vote if this is not reached. Equally, the Irish Legal Update has considered possible scenarios for Ireland looking into the future in the wake of Brexit and Trump. Seeking to reassure the devolved governments, May has pledged that there will be no return to a ‘hard’ Irish border.
  2. A legal challenge, begun in the High Court, arguing that Parliament must legislate separately to the Article 50 notice legislation to remove the UK from the EEA, has failed.
  3. The UK Constitutional Law Association blog has published a short article discussing Lord Neuberger’s statement that EU law is an “independent and overriding source of domestic law”  in the Article 50 judgment. In the Spectator, James Forsyth considers the rising importance of Parliament due to Brexit.
  4. The European Parliament’s chief Brexit negotiator, Guy Verhofstadt, has stated that the UK could be given a fast route back into the EU after Brexit if it were to request membership. Koen Lenaerts, president of the CJEU, has stated that it is likely that Brexit, or at least aspects of it, will end up under review by the EU’s top court.

The UK’s post-Brexit deal with the EU

  1. The Financial Times has argued that the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill is likely to face its biggest trials in the House of Lords. The formal process of debating the art 50 bill began in the Commons, with a published notice of amendments released on 30 Jan 2017. The Commons Committee stage is due to take place early next week with the Report stage and Third Reading on Wednesday. In the formal vote, the art 50 bill passed in the Commons with 498 votes against 114. Following the vote, the Government published the promised White Paper on exiting the EU.
  2. Theresa May will discuss her visit to Trump and Brexit at the EU migration summit in Malta, where EU leaders will seek reassurance that the UK exit strategy will not lead to the UK dropping international cooperation.
  3. Ex-EU ambassador, Sir Ivan Rogers, has warned that Brexit negotiations will be a “humongous” task – in evidence to the Commons Select Committee.
  4. Think-tank The UK in a changing Europe has published a report, A successful Brexit: Four economic tests, outlining a framework to judge whether Brexit has been successful. The think-tank has also published a survey, showing profound divisions among MPs over Brexit.
  5. Open Britain has published a report considering the position of Gibraltar post Brexit. However, concern has been expressed that Spain may use the issue of Gibraltar to “hold the UK hostage” in the Brexit negotiations.
  6. The Law Society has called for legal certainty in Brexit negotiations.

Impact of Brexit on the economy

  1. Trade deals with the US and other countries “won’t make up for Single Market departure”, according to a report by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research.
  2. UK cities’ export data show reliance on EU markets, suggesting that the prosperity of metropolitan areas post-Brexit hinge on securing new trade deals.
  3. Gordon Bannerman, LSE, discusses the potential and the problems of Britain as a free-trading nation – sought after by Liam Fox, but faced with the challenge of Trump.
  4. The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, is calling on Government to make an urgent decision on how more than £600m of crucial funds that London receives from the European Union will be replaced in the aftermath of Brexit.
  5. The Bank of England has upgraded its growth forecasts for this year and next, when many think any negative Brexit effects will start to crystallise, though the Bank still believes that by 2019 the UK economy will be 1.5% smaller than it would have been had the vote been to remain.

Brexit as it affects Practice Areas:


A ‘brain drain’ of lawyers caused by Brexit is already happening, Simon Gleeson, a senior Clifford Chance partner, has told MPs on the justice select committee, with corporations moving in-house lawyers to mainland Europe.


The Migration Observatory has published a report identifying post-Brexit labour migration policy challenges, and considering several different labour migration models which could be used.

The organisation New Europeans has suggested a European ‘green card’ to secure rights of Britons living in the EU, and protect the valuable economic contribution of EU nationals to the UK.

The Government’s White Paper has spelt out the need for new immigration laws, failing to allay Conservative concerns about the status of EU migrants.

Human Rights, Equality and Discrimination

Ministers have confirmed that the Government’s plans to scrap the Human Rights Act 1998 have been shelved until after Brexit – and potentially altogether – arguing that Brexit will strengthen the sovereignty of British courts.

A nine-month inquiry by the Fawcett Society, led by Dame Laura Cox, is to be launched to review the UK’s gender discrimination laws amid fears that lower regulation post-Brexit could erode protections.

Adrian Low, on the LSE Brexit blog, has argued that the Brexit referendum itself was a violation of human rights due to the exclusion of three groups from voting.