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Brexit weekly round up – Week commencing 19 Mar 2018

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

Brexit and the UK constitution

  1. The Lords Constitution Committee has heard evidence on the impact of Brexit on the courts from the President and Deputy President of the Supreme Court, in which Baroness Hale warned that judges could be forced into making what appear to be “political decisions” under the Government’s EU (Withdrawal) bill.
  2. A row over controversial Brexit legislation drawn up by Scottish ministers could go to the Supreme Court, after members at Holyrood overwhelmingly backed the bill.
  3. The Commons Northern Ireland Affairs Committee has published a report calling on the Government to clarify the rules, processes and technical measures that will allow frictionless border arrangements to continue between Ireland and Northern Ireland post-Brexit.
  4. The Guardian reports that appeal judges have ruled that a Scottish court has to examine claims that the UK should be able to unilaterally abandon Brexit without permission from other EU member states. Permission to bring the application had originally been refused as having “no real prospect of success”. The Court Opinion can be seen here.

The UK’s post-Brexit deal with the EU

  1. The European Commission published a position paper draft agreement on the withdrawal of the UK from the EU, which the BBC reports here. MEPs were reportedly confused as the transition agreement struck  fails to make provision regulating free movement for British citizens, as what was Article 32 in earlier drafts has simply vanished from the agreement. The Select Committee on Exiting the EU has published a report on the progress of the UK’s negotiations on EU withdrawal. This recommends that the day of exit may have to be delayed, and this has reportedly split the Conservative party.
  2. According to European Council president Donald Tusk, the transition deal agreed between the UK and Brussels will ‘delay all the negative consequences’ of Brexit for nearly two years.
  3. The Commons Northern Ireland Affairs Committee has published a report calling on the Government to clarify the rules, processes and technical measures that will allow frictionless border arrangements to continue between Ireland and Northern Ireland post-Brexit.
  4. Eurosceptic Conservative and DUP MPs have threatened to vote against the final Brexit withdrawal deal due to the transition deal plan to keep the UK in the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy until 2020. Meanwhile politicians on both sides of the divide in Scotland have criticised the transition deal as failing to deliver full control over fishing rights.
  5. Discussions have started in Whitehall over who will lead Britain’s trade negotiations with the EU, and how to re-shape departments after March 2019 when the Department for Exiting the EU will be disbanded.
  6. Analysis of the transition agreement by Professor Christopher Grey, for the UK in a Changing Europe, suggests it is “now far less likely that there will be a ‘cliff edge’ departure in March 2019”.

Impact of Brexit on the economy

  1. PoliticsHome has stated that a report presented to Cabinet ministers has warned that the UK will not be ready for changes to the customs system in time for the end of the Brexit transition period.
  2. The head of the UK’s aviation authority has warned that it is doing no preparatory work to take over responsibility from the EU’s watchdog (EASA) after Brexit, as “it would be misleading to suggest that’s a viable option”.
  3. The Commons Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee has published a report on the impact of Brexit on the aerospace sector, in which it warns that divergence from global regulatory standards would be ‘utterly self-defeating’ for the sector.
  4. The EU is to promise the City of London ‘appropriate’ market access after Brexit, but only on terms dictated by the bloc.
  5. The eurozone’s top financial supervisors have told banks to keep planning for Brexit without any transition arrangements, despite the EU-UK agreement on the transition period delaying the UK’s exit from the Single Market.
  6. One in seven EU companies has moved its supply chain out of the UK.
  7. French company Gemalto is set to produce the UK’s new dark blue passports.

Brexit as it affects Practice Areas:

Criminal

In The Times, Francis Fitzgibbon QC argues that Brexit will put the European Arrest Warrant at risk.

The Commons Home Affairs Committee has published a report considering UK-EU security cooperation after Brexit.

Health

Children’s doctors have warned that Britain’s post-Brexit trade deal with the United States could lead to even higher rates of obesity through the import of American foods high in fat and sugar.

The Commons Health and Social Care Committee has published a report on Brexit and medicines, medical devices and substances of human origin in which it calls for patient safety to be prioritised in the next stage of Brexit negotiations.

Immigration

Migration Watch UK has published a report on Brexit negotiations and immigration.

Environment

Plans to take back control of UK fisheries the moment Britain leaves the EU appear to have been abandoned in the face of united EU opposition, dealing a significant blow to the ambitions of the environment secretary, Michael Gove.

The Lords EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee has launched an inquiry into the impact of Brexit on plant and animal biosecurity.

In a speech at Prosperity UK, Michael Gove discussed the protection of our environment, as well as a new era for farming and fishing outside the EU.

Science and Technology

The Commons Science and Technology Committee has published a report on Brexit, science and innovation, calling for an early deal for science and research as this would be positive for both the EU and the UK.