Following the EU Referendum, we have a period of uncertainty whilst our government negotiates the UK’s exit from the European Union (Brexit for short). No one yet knows what the commercial implications of Brexit will be and it seems that it will be some time before any degree of certainty will emerge. Will UK businesses still be free to trade with members of the European Union, without tariff barriers or other controls, and will other members of the European Union be free to trade in the United Kingdom without such barriers or controls. We all hope so, but no one knows.
As regards direct legal consequences, in the short term, absolutely nothing changes. The United Kingdom is still a full, participating member of the European Union, irrespective of the result of the EU referendum – and even once the Trigger Notice (under Article 50) has been given, there follows a two year period of negotiation before the United Kingdom formally leaves the European Union – unless something different is negotiated in the meantime between the United Kingdom and the other EU member states. Therefore, any legislation which had its origin in Europe, remains in place exactly as it did before the Referendum.
In the meantime, businesses will require advice on how commercial contracts with European businesses should be worded, as well as advice on commercial agreements, employing personnel, importing and exporting goods, recovering debts and resolving disputes in other jurisdictions. Individuals may require advice on property transactions, employment issues, consumer protection and family matters.
To assist our clients, we have set up a team to specialise in Brexit-related issues, such as its impact on existing commercial conracts. For further information, please contact any of Philip Costigan, Sean Byrne or Jon Wilby.
It is also important to know when advice is needed on the domestic law of another Member State. We are not only conscious of the impact of European law upon our own domestic legal system, but also of the need which some of our clients have for advice and assistance upon issues arising in other European countries.
As members of LawNet and LawNet’s sister organisation Eurojuris International, a grouping of over 500 independent legal practices throughout most countries of Europe, we and our clients have direct access to legal advice and assistance in the towns and cities of Europe in which you may be conducting business.