On the morning of June 24th this year everything changed. Despite many predictions to the contrary, the people of Britain voted decisively to leave the European Union, and the political and economic landscape will never be the same again. Whether you voted leave or remain, whether you were aghast or euphoric, the only certainty was uncertainty. What will happen to the United Kingdom’s trade arrangements? What is the status of the City in a post-Brexit world? And after those big questions come a host of other, more knotty issues. What happens to passporting in financial services? What are the implications for employment law? What about data protection and intellectual property? How do you reshape your commercial contracts?
In order to help readers navigate these choppy waters, The Lawyer has teamed up with Thomson Reuters and a series of top law firms and chambers to assess the extent of the challenges. Some of our contributors provide a view from the Continent: we have briefings from key jurisdictions of Germany, Spain, Switzerland, Ireland and Luxembourg.
Brexit negotiations will dominate the political and business agenda for the next two years. Lawyers, whether from private practice or those working in-house, will be crucial to helping businesses tackle any challenges that come their way.
Shaping the post-Brexit world
The UK’s final farewell to the EU may be years away but lawyers in city firms and global businesses must plan for changes now to play a vital role in the post-Brexit world, says Lucinda Case
While nobody knows for certain what will happen now the UK has decided to leave the EU, contingency plans and Brexit strategies are already being deployed and as a lawyer, you know you will play a vital role when it comes to mitigating Brexit-related risk.
Once the UK government triggers Article 50 under the Lisbon Treaty, the two-year period for the negotiation for exit from the EU can start, providing a crucial window for lawyers to take stock, re-organise and plan ahead as much as possible, in order to transition to and prepare for a new business environment.
Just as Prime Minister Theresa May is creating a Department for Brexit, so too law firms and businesses are acting decisively with Brexit steering groups, taking the lead on vital questions. If you’re an in-house lawyer and you don’t have such a group, it’s time to create one; if you do, ensure you’re on it.
For private practice lawyers, a period of tremendous change will see clients ask more of you than ever before and you must be well prepared and proactive in order to deliver.
Managing through change
The UK’s exit from the EU presents an unprecedented opportunity for you to demonstrate your perspective and expertise and to take a leading role in shaping the post-Brexit world. Lawyers should be asking themselves the following questions:
- Do I have the up-to-date know-how resources to guide my external or business clients through the regulatory consequences, and to help with their efforts to influence the shape of the new trading model?
- Do I have the flexibility to meet short-term spikes in specific practice areas?
- If I’m working in a law firm, while the market is in flux, can I innovate on pricing in order to maintain a competitive edge?
- Is my corporate legal department equipped with the tools to keep track of legal spend that risks jumping up, as it seeks specialist advice on the impact of Brexit on the legal areas relevant to the business?
Whether you work in a firm or legal department, to navigate the post-Brexit world successfully, you will want to be equipped with the very best in legal know-how, tools and online resources. Too often, speculation is just ‘noise’ and reliable answers will be hard to find. As a trusted source of news and information to professional markets around the world, Thomson Reuters remains well placed to help you and your clients navigate the uncertainty that lies ahead.
Below we’ve collected a summary of how we can help you stay on top of the changing environment.
Lucinda Case is VP, customer segments & strategy, Legal UK & Ireland at Thomson Reuters
Short-term legislative implications of Brexit
The UK’s statute book is about to get a lot more complicated, warns Daniel Greenberg
Whichever of the various possible routes towards Brexit is taken over the next couple of years, it will inevitably add to the already overwhelming complexity of the statute book and make it even more challenging for business and consumer interests to keep track of new and pending legislative changes.
For a variety of reasons, simple repeal of large quantities of EU-based legislation was never an option. Instead, we can expect a complicated mixture of legislative changes. These will include the incremental dismantling of a range of legislation which was wholly or partly implementing EU obligations, sometimes without any express reference to the EU; probably with transitional or permanent savings designed to implement Brexit negotiations on regulatory compatibility as the price of trading freedoms.
And we can also expect an expanded range of domestic policy-based legislation in newly freed-up areas, partly within Westminster but even more significantly within the devolved legislatures.
Daniel Greenberg is general editor of Insight and Annotated Statutes on Westlaw UK, a barrister specialising in legislation, as well as in-house parliamentary counsel at BLP and a lecturer on statutory interpretation and legislative drafting at the University of London
Brexit resources from Thomson Reuters
For practical legal guidance and practitioner views
Access the Practical Law Brexit hub for the latest detailed analysis and insights from top practitioners on the implications of Brexit in areas such as financial services, contractual relationships & dispute resolution, restructuring & insolvency, banking, employment, pensions, competition law, merger control, data protection and tax. You can also find a comprehensive EU Survival toolkit to help understand and research EU law.
For the latest commentary and legislative updates
Search the Westlaw UK Journals Index for ‘Brexit’ and set up alerts to receive the latest articles on the effects of Brexit for SMEs and multinationals, and areas of law such as real estate, criminal, shipping, energy, plus many more.
As new UK legislation is proposed, the bills tracking service, alongside our annotated statutes, will allow you to both track new laws as they develop and see guidance on the real impact of implementation.
Practical Law and Westlaw UK Editorial teams will be working to ensure that regulatory developments are monitored and tracked and that all related content is maintained. This means that subscribers will be kept abreast of changes as and when they occur.
for breaking financial news and views
Get multimedia coverage from Reuters’ team of expert journalists and agenda-setting financial insight, including the Brexit calculator.
Thomson Reuters Eikon Brexit app
Monitor the market reaction and financial analysis with the same tools used by the financial services industry. Just enter ‘Brexit’ into the search bar on Thomson Reuters Eikon, or code BRXT into the News Monitor Window.
For global business insight and analysis:
Thomson Reuters Answer On blog
Follow our company blog and search ‘Brexit’ to find the latest global analysis on Brexit, including impact on the final services industry, corporate tax implications, currency reactions and more.
Read our Brexit briefings below:
UK will remain big feature of Europe’s IP landscape
Five possible outcomes for EU-UK trade relations
Why the UK may consider taking the Swiss approach
UK firms face challenge of accessing EU after Brexit
Employment law expected to stay largely unchanged
Asset management: what now for alternative fund managers?
A tale of two cities: Madrid is ready to replace London
Post-referendum realities and opportunities ahead
The impact of Brexit on contracts
Keep calm and carry on: data protection after Brexit
UK firms look to Ireland as uncertainty takes hold
Cross-border litigation in contractual matters
Luxembourg stands ready to welcome PE with the RAIF
Time waits for no financial services institution