Absent any new emergency blocking legislation or a UK unilateral revocation of the withdrawal notice, a no deal Brexit remains the current legal default position come 31st January 2020.
Whilst some argue that the UK can take steps to mitigate against the worst effects of a no deal Brexit and rely on World Trade Organisation rules, that would still leave enormous uncertainty and potential disruption. The UK could not necessarily rely on the EU member states to be co-operative in treating the UK as a privileged third party over and above other non-EU members and WTO rules are nowhere near as robust as those of the EU.
Much reliance has also been placed on the draft withdrawal agreement’s proposed transition period to 31 December 2020 to assist with an orderly Brexit. This transition period would be an early victim of a no deal Brexit.
The picture is very much incomplete, even with a deal, particularly as to the relationship of the UK with the EU after 2020. The UK government has ruled out any “off the shelf” models for a trade deal and is looking for an ambitious free trade agreement, based on managed regulatory divergence. The absence of any one-size-fits-all approach confirms our recommendation that it is important to look at the issues on a sectoral basis. We expect to see clarity in some issues and sectors ahead of others.
Against this background, our sector experts are working closely with clients to advise on the legal considerations of Brexit for businesses and individuals and how best to manage their operations and investments in the short term within the current regulatory framework and beyond.
In the articles below we are endeavouring to provide insight, in-depth analysis and an overview on key issues and likely implications for some of the key UK sectors by our industry experts. We will continue to provide guidance and insight when relevant.