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Brexit weekly round up – Week commencing 31 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 Scotland Office annual report and accounts for 2016/17 has examined progress made on delivering Brexit for Scotland, including delivering city deals and the Scottish Government’s industrial strategy, stating that it will build on this and develop close relationships with UK Government departments.
  2. The Government has published its response to the public consultation on the UK’s future legal framework for imposing and implementing sanctions post-Brexit. The House of Lords has published a letter to David Davis in response to his refusal to appear before the committee, urging him to reconsider, to enable effective parliamentary scrutiny to promote transparency and accountability.
  3. The Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has warned that Brexit is the ‘challenge of our generation’, with the UK exit affecting all aspects of life in Northern Ireland.

The UK’s post-Brexit deal with the EU

  1. Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has stated that the cabinet is “absolutely united” behind a gradual, business-friendly Brexit, avoiding a ‘cliff edge’ departure. However it seems there are still tensions over post-Brexit free movement, with Liam Fox stating that there is no cabinet-wide agreement on what a transitional implementation period should look like.
  2. The BBC reports on the race to host two EU agencies, the European Banking Authority and the European Medicines Agency, which will be relocated from the UK post-Brexit as countries from the bloc must make a bid for them.
  3. Philip Hammond has suggested that the UK will not cut tax and regulations after Brexit in a bid to undercut EU rivals, whilst William Hague has agreed with him that a transitional period has ‘immense attractions’. Meanwhile the Institute of Directors has warned that there is a pressing need for the Government to agree a plan for the transitional deal to avoid a chaotic, cliff-edge departure for business.
  4. A survey reported on by Litigation Futures has found that lawyers in London are fairly evenly split on whether Brexit will lead to a “significant flight of work” to other jurisdictions, with 38% of thinking work would be lost because of Brexit, 35% disagreeing and over a quarter being unsure.
  5. Mishcon de Reya have published the August edition of the Brussels Insider, asking ‘where are we now?’ thirteen months on from the referendum.
  6. As noted above, the Government has published its response to the public consultation on the UK’s future legal framework for imposing and implementing sanctions post-Brexit. The House of Lords has published a letter to David Davis in response to his refusal to appear before the committee, urging him to reconsider, to enable effective parliamentary scrutiny to promote transparency and accountability.
  7. According to the latest European Commission’s Eurobarometer survey, and reported in the EU Observer Blog, the perception of the EU across EU Member States has changed tangibly for the better since the Brexit vote.
  8. The House of Commons Library has published a research briefing considering the July round of the Brexit negotiations.

Impact of Brexit on the economy

  1. Analysis by the economic consultancy Oxera has found that the cost to the UK of new customs checks and ensuing delays could amount to more than £1bn a year.
  2. Nicky Morgan MP, Treasury select committee chair, has asked the Bank of England to provide comprehensive details of the City’s readiness for a hard Brexit, and for its view on the format of a transitional deal. Meanwhile RBS has announced locate a post-Brexit EU hub in Amsterdam.
  3. Arguing that having anti-Brexit representatives appointed as trade envoys is unacceptable, Ian Duncan Smith has stated that they should be replaced in their roles in which they must champion the UK’s bilateral relationships.
  4. According to New York-based consultancy, Oliver Wyman, banks will need up to $50 billion (€42.3 billion) in extra capital and will see higher costs of $1 billion (€846 million) to diversify out of the UK and into the EU after Brexit.
  5. The Independent has reported that house prices are set to surge in Ireland as finance firms flee the City of London following the Brexit vote. The newspaper has also reported that the UK will face a bill of £520m for the cost of relocating the European Medicines Agency from London to the EU.
  6. Environment secretary Michael Gove has told the Danish fishing industry that boats from EU countries will still be able to operate in UK waters after Brexit, as the UK does not have enough capacity to catch and process all its fish alone prompting  complaints from the Lib Dems and SNP that the government’s stance on the issue was confused.
  7. The Department for International Trade is working to make it easier for UK companies to benefit from further trading opportunities across the world post-Brexit, aiming to reduce tariffs and boost trade in renowned UK products such as Scotch whisky.

Brexit as it affects Practice Areas:

Competition and Regulatory

Baker McKenzie’s Brexit Competition Law Working Group has published its report, detailing its conclusions and recommendations on the implications of Brexit for UK competition law and policy.

Family

The head of Unicef UK has warned that refugee children could be permanently separated from their families unless the Government widens the definition of ‘family’ and includes family reunification in post-Brexit immigration law.

Immigration

Downing Street has confirmed that Brexit will end the free movement of EU citizens, despite divisions within Cabinet.

Human Rights, Equality and Discrimination

Stammering Law has published an article considering the consequences of Brexit for disability discrimination under the Equality Act 2010.

Education

UK universities have published a briefing note setting out areas requiring further clarity regarding the future of EU citizens’ rights, and warning that the Government’s current approach is hurting the education sector.

Environment

The chief of the National Trust has stated that a seamless transition in funding for farmers throughout Brexit is vital to protect the countryside from damaging uncertainty and short-termism after the UK leaves the bloc.