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Brexit weekly round up – Week commencing 10 July 2017

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

Brexit and the UK constitution

  1. The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill was published, prompting a potential constitutional clash with both Nicola Sturgeon and Carwyn Jones rejecting it as a ‘power grab’ by Westminster and undermining human rights. The Bill, plus relevant reports and parliamentary debates, can be found here on the Public Bills before Parliament website.
  2. The Financial Times discussed the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill in anticipation of its publication, considering it to be one of the most constitutionally significant pieces of legislation in British history, though suggesting Theresa May will be braced for the backlash with concerns over many amendments to be tabled in the autumn.
  3. For the LSE Brexit Blog, Dr Katy Hayward has argued that Michel Barnier’s dismissal of the notion of ‘frictionless’ trade between the UK and EU after Brexit has direct ramifications for one of the most complex problems faced by the Brexit negotiators: how to manage the Irish border.
  4. Professor Mark Elliott, for Public Law for Everyone, has given a seminar evaluating the Miller judgment in the Supreme Court.
  5. The king and queen of Spain have begun a state visit to the UK in which the two royal families will seek to play down simmering rows over a string of post-Brexit issues such as Gibraltar and the rights of British citizens living in Spain and Spanish nationals living in the UK between the two countries.

The UK’s post-Brexit deal with the EU

  1. With the next round of formal Brexit talks set for next week, irritation in Brussels is growing due to the UK’s lack of official response on financial payments. However the UK Government has conceded that there could be a transitional role for the CJEU for a limited period post-Brexit. Meanwhile Jeremy Corbyn has met with Michel Barnier to set out an alternative vision of Brexit, and has reportedly stated that he is “ready to take up the responsibility of Brexit” should the opportunity arise.
  2. The European Commission has published a factsheet detailing the state of play of Article 50 negotiations with the UK. Meanwhile the UK Government has published three position papers for the negotiations – on ongoing EU judicial proceedings, nuclear materials, and privileges. These papers arguably underline the risks that the EU will face if there is no transition period after Brexit.
  3. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has suggested the UK will not pay an “extortionate” divorce bill for withdrawing from the EU, while stating that the Government has “no plan for no deal” due to its confidence in securing a strong Brexit settlement. However Michel Barnier has stated that the EU will only ask for what the UK has committed to paying as a member, whilst stating that there are still major differences between the EU and UK on the rights of EU citizens living in Britain and the EU has stated that the Brexit talks could be derailed by the escalating fight over money. Guy Verhofstadt has argued that, unless the UK improves the Brexit offer it is making to EU citizens, it is likely that the European Parliament will veto the deal.
  4. Brexit Secretary David Davis has conceded that there may have to be some transitional period in the UK’s departure from the EU, suggesting that near neighbours such as France may not be suitably prepared. However at PMQs Damien Green stated that the Government could still walk away from negotiations with the EU with no agreement to avoid a “punishment deal”. Nicky Morgan has argued that the final Brexit deal must put jobs and the economy first.
  5. Vince Cable has argued that, due to practical complexities and political divisions, Brexit “may never happen”. However UK MPs and members of the House of Lords have set up the All Party Parliamentary Group on EU Relations, aimed at getting “the best and closest possible relationship with the EU” after Brexit.
  6. The Lords EU Select Committee is visiting Brussels to continue its work on Brexit.
  7. The European Policy Centre has published a paper by Andrew Duff discussing Brexit, the UK’s options, and how it will be ‘No ordinary third country’. Meanwhile Politico has discussed how Brexit could still be stopped if the British public play their part.
  8. The publication of the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill has reportedly set the Government on a collision course with Labour as it has stated it will not bring the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights into domestic law on Brexit day. The Financial Times reports on how more moderate MPs will seek to introduce amendments to Theresa May’s Brexit bills to soften them, and Carwyn Jones and Nicola Sturgeon have rejected the Bill. David Allen Green has argued that, with all the legislative and legal complexities, there are more problems than solutions in the Bill. Bircham Dyson Bell have a dedicated blog for the great repeal bill.
  9. In an article for The Telegraph, Rachel Reeves and Ed Vaizey have argued that it is vital the UK preserves Euratom post-Brexit.
  10. For the Financial Times, Gideon Rachman has argued that the UK faces range of uncomfortable outcomes from its negotiations with the EU. For the LSE EUROPP blog, Steve Bullock has argued that the attitude adopted by the UK in the run up to the Brexit negotiations has blown its chances of a good deal from the EU27.

Impact of Brexit on the economy

  1. Following the G20 summit, Theresa May has sought to reassure Britons having obtained a promise from Donald Trump that there will be a US-UK trade deal concluded very quickly post-Brexit.
  2. MPs have debated exiting the EU and global trade. Meanwhile the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry has argued that the Government must address dipping business confidence with positive Brexit talks.
  3. The EU Justice Sub-Committee has continued with its inquiry into Brexit: consumer protection rights, with regulators advising.
  4. The Australian prime minister has stated that he is determined the sign a trade deal with the UK as soon as it is legally able to sign one post-Brexit, but has also stated his country will be seeking a similar deal with the EU even before the UK leaves.
  5. It is possible to watch part of The Brief’s event ‘Brexit, law and the city: what now?’ to see leaders of the Square Mile’s elite law firms discuss the likelihood of leaving the single market, and the revocability of art 50.
  6. Peter Homes, for the Scottish Centre on European Relations, has argued that staying in the customs union would be neither soft nor simple post-Brexit.
  7. As the EU’s insurance supervisor has weighed in, EU regulators are intensifying a drive to prevent financial groups from setting up shell companies in continental Europe to sidestep the effects of Brexit. Meanwhile the EIOPA has issued principles on a supervisory approach to the relocations from the UK.
  8. Christopher Sullivan for Norton Rose Fulbright has written a piece on the proposal by the European Securities and Markets Authority, that, in light of Brexit, the European Commission should take it a step further and require direct EU supervision of an even wider scope of third country market infrastructure providers.
  9. The Financial Times has argued that vital industry sectors such as chemicals and cars are likely to upset optimistic predictions that the UK will easily be able to negotiate new deals with the EU as the regulatory standards must remain to enable trade.
  10. Dr Lauge Poulsen, for the UCL European Institute, has examined the future of British investment policy after Brexit.
  11. The head of Britain’s public spending watchdog has warned that the UK may not be prepared to launch customs controls at Europe’s borders after it exits the EU in 2019.
  12. For the LSE Brexit blog, Uuriintuya Baatsaikhanand Dirk Schoenmaker have argued that English common law is the choice of law for financial contracts, even for parties in EU member states with civil law systems. This creates a lucrative legal sector in the UK, but Brexit could make UK court decisions difficult to enforce in the EU.

Brexit as it affects Practice Areas:

Criminal

For the Centre for European Reform, Camino Mortera-Martinez has argues that the UK will not be able to keep the European Arrest Warrant after leaving the EU, and that negotiating such a good replacement arrangement will be impossible.

Competition and Regulatory

Led by competition lawyers, almost 1,000 solicitors have registered to practice in Ireland in the year since the referendum – 10 times the regular annual number – amid fears over losing the right to represent clients in European courts post-Brexit.

Employment

Following departure from Euratom upon Brexit, the Office for Nuclear Regulation will face a skills shortage, requiring more inspectors.

The Financial Times reports on research which has found that three in four university leavers worry that Brexit will impact jobs, though the paper by High Fliers Research has also found that only eight of the UK’s leading employers have opted to reduce their graduate recruitment targets for 2017 because of the uncertainty following the Brexit vote.

Family

Suzanne Kingston has argued that Brexit is likely to create huge legislative void for cases involving international recovery of maintenance and the recognition and enforcement of orders relating to children and parental responsibility, stating that it cannot be assumed that conventions will fill legislative gaps.

Health

In an open letter from leaders in the medical industry, to Michel Barnier and David Davis, the importance of securing ongoing cooperation between the UK and EU on medicines is underlined to ensure no adverse impact of Brexit on public health.

The UK in a Changing Europe has published an article by Professor Jean McHale considering the consequences of Brexit for the NHS.

Immigration

The Swedish minister Ann Linde has stated that Britons’ rights in Europe ‘must not surpass the rights of EU citizens in the UK’, arguing that lack of reciprocity would be unfair.

Human Rights, Equality and Discrimination

The publication of the so-called ‘great repeal bill’ has set the Government on a collision course with Labour as it has stated it will not bring the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights into domestic law on Brexit day, also leading Nicola Sturgeon and Carwyn Jones to reject the Bill.