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Brexit weekly round up – Week commencing 20 November 2017

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

Brexit and the UK constitution

  1. The Commons Select Committee on Scottish Affairs has published a report on the implications of the EU (Withdrawal) Bill for devolution.
  2. Christopher McCrudden and Daniel Halberstam, for the UK Constitutional Law Association, have discussed the UK Supreme Court’s failure to address head-on the adverse implications of triggering Brexit for devolution and the Belfast-Good Friday Agreement in the Miller case, arguing that it is of critical importance.
  3. Former President of the Supreme Court, Lord Neuberger, has stated that the EU (Withdrawal) Bill will remove power from the UK parliament and hand it to the judiciary, stating that it will have “a profound effect on the balance of power between the legislature, the executive and the judiciary”.
  4. For the UK Constitutional Law Association blog, Armin Cuyvers has discussed two legal tools that could be used to avoid a hard Brexit, which are a delayed exit, and decreasing membership under TEU, art 50.

The UK’s post-Brexit deal with the EU

  1. David Davis is reportedly considering resigning following Michael Gove and Boris Johnson’s Brexit letter, about which he was kept in the dark and which set out the pair’s vision for Brexit and contained veiled criticisms of colleagues’ approach.
  2. The National Audit Office has published a briefing describing how the centre of Government is overseeing and taking forward implementation of the UK’s exit from the EU, focusing on the coordination role of DEXEU. Meanwhile the UCL European Institute has published a paper on the legal and political considerations of the Brexit transitional arrangements.
  3. The week began with reports that the Cabinet was willing to support Theresa May to increase the UK’s Brexit bill offer. This is to be increased to £40bn to break the deadlock, though the increase will be contingent on an acceptable final deal. However, senior Tory Brexiteers have demanded that Theresa May exploit Angela Merkel’s political weakness and suspend plans to offer billions of pounds more to the EU, though Politico has argued that Merkel’s position will make Brexit harder. According to the Financial Times, the UK and EU are aiming to strike the Brexit divorce deal within three weeks, with negotiators seeking to overcome the toughest unresolved issues on financial settlement and Northern Ireland.
  4. Despite the increase in May’s Brexit bill offer, the Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney has warned that Dublin is still prepared to veto Brexit trade talks unless the UK gives written guarantees that there will be no return to a hard border between the Republic and Northern Ireland. This has led DUP leader, Arlene Foster, to accuse the Irish government of hijacking the Brexit negotiations to promote a united Ireland.
  5. David Davis has stated that, whilst it is not probable or the intention, it is possible that the UK will leave the EU without a deal.
  6. Former AG Dominic Grieve has accused a number of Tory MPs of becoming unhinged over the Brexit withdrawal process, claiming there was an attempt to ‘bully into silence’ Remain-supporting Tories who were speaking out against the Government.
  7. Brussels and Dublin have increased the pressure on the British Government, stating it must offer alternatives to avoid imposing a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland. However, in a speech to the Centre for European Reform on the future of the EU, Michel Barnier, underlined the desire for the EU27 to seek a ‘close relationship with the UK’ once Brexit happens, stating that the EU has no desire to punish.
  8. The European Commission has welcomed the decision of the EU27 to relocate the EMA and the EBA to Amsterdam and Paris respectively. The Commission has also stated that the UK will not be able to host the European Capital of Culture in 2023 and thus has told five British cities that their bids must be withdrawn.
  9. The near contempt felt by European leaders at the British Government’s management of the Brexit negotiations, and their concerns over the “unimpressive” and “surprising” behaviour of Boris Johnson and David Davis, have been revealed by a confidential report drawn up by the Irish government.

Impact of Brexit on the economy

  1. David Davis has spoken at the Suddeutchse Zeitung Economic Summit, talking about the UK’s approach to talks to leaving the EU. Meanwhile Julian Jessop, Head of the IEA’s Brexit unit, has argued that the UK should attach conditions to any divorce bill.
  2. The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committeehas examined the impact of Brexit on aerospace industry. Meanwhile TheCityUK has warned that the UK Government needs to do more to protect Britain’s legal services sector after Brexit if the country is to remain the world’s ‘jurisdiction of choice’.
  3. The ECB has warned EU and UK banks to speed up Brexit preparations, with Sabine Lautenschlager, a senior banking supervisor, warning that ‘no one will wait for you’. Meanwhile Goldman Sachs CEO, Lloyd Blankfein, has confirmed that his bank will have hubs in both Frankfurt and Paris.
  4. Legal experts have warned that a ‘copy and paste’ approach to EU free trade agreements will not work, arguing that such an approach would misunderstand the complications.
  5. The EU has warned Britain to lower its expectations of market access for the City of London, suggesting that post-Brexit the UK would have no preferential access for financial services other than patchy equivalence arrangements.
  6. In his Budget, Chancellor Philip Hammond has committed an extra £3bn to the UK’s Brexit planning, aiming to head of Eurosceptic Tory claims that he has failed to adequately prepare for Britain’s departure.
  7. Arriving in Brussels where she will attend the EU summit and meet with European Council president, Donald Tusk, Theresa May has pushed for progress, making clear she will only lay down more money to meet the divorce bill if the bloc’s leaders can guarantee the widening of talks to trade and the terms of a transition period.

Brexit as it affects Practice Areas:

Competition and Regulatory

The response of the Competition Appeal Tribunal to the Lords EU Internal Market Sub-Committee’s call for evidence in relation to its inquiry concerning Brexit and competition law and policy has been published.

Margot James MP has written a letter containing evidence to the House of Lords EU Internal Market Sub-Committee inquiry on the impact of Brexit on UK competition policy.

Health

The Financial Times reports on how announcement of the move of the EMA to Amsterdam has served to remind the pharmaceutical industry of the critical issues left to resolve before Brexit, including medicines regulation and patient safety.

The House of Commons Library has published a briefing paper providing an overview of current medicines regulation in the UK and the relationship with the EMA and regulatory agencies in EU Member States, considering what the options may be in this area following Brexit.

Leading medics have warned that time is running out to prevent patient care being harmed by disruption to supplies of radioisotopes used in cancer treatment after Brexit.

Immigration

The British Academy has published a report containing a list of the subjects most at risk from uncertainty over immigration rules after Brexit.

The Government has published a Technical Note on citizens’ rights, seeking to clarify aspects of its proposal for EU citizens’ rights post Brexit.

A senior Indian diplomat has stated that Britain must accept more immigration from India if It wants to strike a free trade deal with them post-Brexit.

Human Rights, Equality and Discrimination

Dominic Grieve has stated that he is still expecting the Government to back down over his attempts to force a vote to ensure human rights law is enshrined in the EU withdrawal bill, as he wishes to amend the bill to remove the clause stating that ‘ the charter of fundamental rights is not part of domestic law on or after exit day’. The Government has stated it will work with Dominic Grieve over keeping rights under EU law after Brexit, heading off the potential rebellion.

This amendment is supported by the European Human Rights Commission.

Education

Professor Stuart Croft, vice-chancellor of Warwick University, has stated that institutions need certainty over residency rights by the end of the year to avoid seeing staff at all levels deciding to leave, and that without a clear Brexit plan, universities will ‘face disaster within weeks’.

Election

The Electoral Commission has re-opened an investigation into Vote Leave’s EU referendum spending, following the initiation by a campaign group, The Good Law Project, of legal action against the commission over its original decision to drop the investigation.

Fresh details of the spending have emerged in documents seen by The Guardian.

Environment

The Lords EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee has examined the impact of Brexit on the UK’s trade in waste.

The UK Government has proposed an independent body to advise on post-Brexit environmental issues.

Events

  1. IALS is hosting a conference on ‘The legislative side of Brexit’ on 1 December 2017 from 12.30 until 16.30.