However, it would be remiss to think that Brexit won’t have an effect on UK and EU law, and it’s prudent to think about what the changes could be.
Article 50, which Theresa May triggered on 29th March 2017, will begin the negotiation period that will deal with the parting of the EU and UK and will last for two years.
Although no details of the UK’s negotiation strategy have been disclosed, the following points can be confirmed based on the White Paper published by the UK Government on 2 February 2017:
Laws - A number of EU laws have been embedded into UK law in the past. The UK Government will issue a Great Repeal Bill to Parliament to lay out details of how EU law will be converted into UK law, and which laws will apply within Britain once Brexit has taken effect.
In the event of a ‘hard’ Brexit - One of the key points of discussion in all media coverage of Brexit so far is the UK’s desire to restrict immigration by leaving the single market while maintaining trade links with the EU. In addition, the UK will negotiate and maintain trade agreements with countries outside of the EU. Current customs union rules are also up for negotiation and the UK wants to exit this union while implementing tariff-free trade with European countries. Of particular interest to Ireland is Theresa May’s statement that maintaining the Common Travel Area between Ireland and the UK is of critical importance.
From 2017 to 2019 - The two year negotiation period triggered by Article 50 will end in March 2019, though the European Council has got the option to extend this period if all members unanimously vote to do so. At this point, Theresa May has indicated that the UK Government intends to agree on all aspects of Britain’s future with the EU within the two year timeframe.
While this two year period will no doubt show up new aspects to Brexit that have not been identified yet, our opinion presently is that key legal changes will take place in the following areas:
- Tax law
- Intellectual property
- Data protection
- Public procurement law
- Employment law
- Consumer law
If you’d like to discuss how Brexit may impact on your business from a legal perspective, please contact us.
30 March 2017