BREXIT - What Happens Now

Unless you have been living on a different planet you will be aware, of course that the UK has voted to make a BREXIT from the EU.  This is clearly causing some financial and business turmoil.  Uncertainty breeds more uncertainty and leads to lack of confidence.  My view is to keep calm and carry on!   We have all seen recessions and problems before and on the whole the world has managed to keep turning.  

From a legal point of view the position is to say the least interesting.  That said we can say with some certainty that the UK will remain subject to EU laws in the same way as it is now for at least two years after the UK Government triggers the withdrawal.  

After that two year period the UK Government will no longer be bound to follow EU laws.  There are two mains types:-
(a)    Directives implemented in each member state via national legislation and,
(b)    Regulations which are directly binding on each member state without further national implementation.

This would include such areas as Data Protection, Working Time Regulations and various Consumer Regulations.  As these have been a subject to UK Legislation they will remain in source unless a UK Government chooses to appeal or vary the legislation.  This is surely unlikely.  I would have thought any new Government would have enough on its plate without considering changes to legislation.  In any event, any Free Trade Agreement might require such legislation to stay in place.  

There could be a technical gap here.  Regulations will cease to apply unless for instance, the UK Government decides to implement the Regulations en masse so as to avoid a gaping hole.  Perhaps the Government might legislate to keep all the Regulations and then over time pick and choose that which it wishes to keep and that which it wishes repeal.  

For Legislation in practical terms therefore:-
(a)    Nothing will happen for two years. 
(b)    After that most of the Directives which have already been legislated on by the UK Government are likely to remain.
(c)    Regulations at least, in the short term will have to be brought on board and then repealed piece meal.  Any new trade deal, in any event may well require many of the Directives and Regulations to remain.
(d)    In the future the UK will not be bound to implement or follow any new EU Laws although it may well make sense for the UK Laws to remain broadly in line with some to make cross border trading easier and more attractive.  Any businesses who are trading in the EU will need to comply with EU Law in any event when they do business there.   

I reckon changes will be subtle rather than root and branch.  Some of the changes to the law in any event, are more likely to be evolution rather than revolution.

Richard Cussell
Director and Solicitor 
Tel: 01749 836108

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.

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