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Brexit weekly round up – Week commencing 23 July 2018

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

Brexit and the UK constitution

  1. The Supreme Court is to consider a legal challenge to establish the extend of the Scottish Parliament’s policy-making powers after Brexit. This is discussed in the Financial Times.
  2. Spain has warned the British Government that a “cliff-edge” Brexit must be avoided for Gibraltar, with negotiations over the future of the Rock said to be stalling.
  3. Brian Kennelly QC discusses the EU (Withdrawal) Act in The Times, arguing that it is nonsensical because the provisions all refer to obligations on “Member States” and rights that are engaged where trade “between Member States” is affected despite the fact the UK will no longer be a Member State.

The UK’s post-Brexit deal with the EU

  1. The Government has published the White Paper on Legislating for the Withdrawal Agreement between the UK and the EU, setting out how the Government will implement the final Withdrawal Agreement reached with the EU in UK law. Michel Barnier has reportedly pushed back against Theresa May’s Brexit offer to Brussels, questioning whether her plan is “workable” or even “legal”. He informed the EU27 Council as to the state of play in the Brexit negotiations.
  2. Theresa May has announced that she will now lead the crunch talks with the EU while Dominic Raab, who was appointed two weeks ago, would be left in charge of domestic preparations, no-deal planning and legislation. However Patrick Maguire in the New Statesman argues that Dominic Raab has not been sidelined, as DEXEU was never in charge of Brexit.
  3. David Davis has called on Theresa May to “start again” over Brexit, as the former Cabinet minister insisted it would not be “the end of the world” if Britain leaves the EU empty-handed. Meanwhile Dominic Raab has stated that the UK will not pay the £39bn divorce bill unless a trade deal with the EU is agreed. However Theresa May is to send Cabinet members across the EU to sell her Chequers compromise plan.
  4. Tony Blair has argued that Parliament should reject the Chequers deal, stating that the ‘in-betweener solution is the worst of all worlds’.
  5. The Commons Home Affairs Committee has published a follow-up report regarding the UK-EU security cooperation after Brexit.

Impact of Brexit on the economy

  1. Amazon’s UK boss has warned the Brexit secretary, Dominic Raab, that Britain would face “civil unrest” within weeks of a no-deal Brexit, adding the online retailer’s voice to a growing list of businesses voicing concerns.
  2. Secretary of State for International Trade, Liam Fox, has announced that UK-specific schedules of concessions ad commitments have been submitted to the World Trade Organisation, replicating the UK’s current obligations as far as possible.
  3. The Lords EU Financial Affairs Sub-Committee has called for evidence regarding the UK’s future relationship with the European Investment Bank.
  4. US banks are calling on the British Government to cut taxes and red tape that they say could lead to loss of financial assets and jobs post-Brexit as the City is losing its competitive edge against New York following Trump’s push for looser regulations.
  5. The Department for International Trade has launched a consultation on the UK potentially seeking accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership as the UK prepares for an independent trade policy after leaving the EU.
  6. Dominic Raab and Matt Hancock have given testimony to the Brexit Select Committee regarding the stock-piling of food and medicines in preparation for the possibility of a no-deal Brexit.
  7. The UKTPO has published a blog discussing the Facilitated Customs Arrangement that aims to deliver frictionless trade in goods between the UK and the EU after Brexit.
  8. The Centre for Cities have published a paper on the geography of financial services in the capital and beyond. Meanwhile Policy Exchange has published a report on the Chequers Agreement and Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership.
  9. The House of Commons Library has published a report discussing the UK Government’s aim to rollover the EU’s free and preferential trade agreements covering more than 70 non-EU countries.

Brexit as it affects Practice Areas:

Competition and Regulatory

The Law Gazette reports on research finding that businesses are already changing contracts so that disputes are heard in the European Union rather than the UK.

Employment

The Home Office has published an employer toolkit which it states will equip employers with the right tools and information to support EU citizens and their families on the EU Settlement Scheme.

The Independent has reported that the Association of British Insurers has warned that a no deal Brexit could make it illegal to pay private pensions to many retired British expats.

Health

The Chairman of the EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee has written to the Department of Health and Social Care to discuss the implications of Brexit for food safety risk management.

The European Medicines Agency has warned that the supply of 100 UK medicines will be disrupted post-Brexit as work to license them has not been done.

Immigration

The Commons Exiting the EU Committee has published a report on the progress of the UK’s negotiations on EU withdrawal as regards the rights of UK and EU citizens. In the report, MPs have stated that EU citizens already living in the UK should be given physical ID cards after Brexit to prevent the “devastating consequences” of another Windrush-style scandal.

People working or studying at 12 NHS trusts in north-west England and three universities in Liverpool will be the first to trial the Home Office’s system to apply for ‘settled status’ for EU citizens in the UK.

The Exiting the European Union Committee has called for urgent clarification from the EU27 on the preparations that they are making to regularise the status of UK citizens in each Member State.

The Lords EU Home Affairs Sub-Committee has warned in a report that post-Brexit free movement restrictions could harm the UK cultural sector.

Human Rights, Equality and Discrimination

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has published a report looking at the state of women’s rights and gender equality in the UK in 2018, in which it warns that crucial employment rights as well as funding for some women’s services could be lost when the UK leaves the EU.

Environment

The Environmental Audit Committee has called for the Government to establish a new independent oversight body—the Environmental Enforcement and Audit Office — to ensure that the governance, enforcement, oversight and policy functions currently carried out by the European Commission and CJEU are not lost after leaving the EU.

Theresa May has set out the Government’s plans for a post-Brexit farming policy which aims to work for farmers and food producers, while improving the environment.