Brexit in a page - what do I need to know?

Jacqui Bickerton provides an update on the current state of play regarding Brexit.

Weekly reflection

Key dates

24 July
Parliamentary summer recess commences

4 September
Parliamentary business resumes following summer recess

4 September
Customs Bill returns to Parliament

11 September
Trade Bill returns to Parliament

  • Tuesday saw the start of a two day hearing in the Supreme Court. Lady Hale, Lord Reed, Lord Sumption, Lord Carnwarth, Lord Hodge, Lord Kerr and Lord Lloyd-Jones all heard arguments from the UK Government about whether Holyrood had the competence to pass the UK Withdrawal from the European Union (Legal Continuity) (Scotland) Bill (“the Bill”). Holyrood had passed the Bill in March of this year during erupting argument over the return of devolved powers from the EU when the UK exits the EU. The judgment is expected in the autumn.
  • The former Chairman of Lloyds, John Nelson, has this week called for a second referendum, insisting that the case for remaining in the EU needs to be restated to the UK electorate. He has also urged UK business to galvanise the public to understand the “true realities” of what the UK is facing.
  • This week has also seen the announcement of Societas Europaea conversion for Chubb European Group and ACE Europe Life, the latter will move to France at the start of 2019 having gained French regulatory approval. Since the referendum, other insurers have moved their business to the bloc, with Luxembourg, Brussels and Dublin being the most popular domiciles.
  • The Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”) has announced its plans to prepare for a no deal Brexit whilst reiterating that the UK and EU should have access to each other’s markets post Brexit. The FCA is working on developing and establishing a temporary permissions regime to maintain business as usual for EU firms with business in the UK. Such regime would allow the administration of existing contracts extending beyond Brexit. The Executive Director of International at the FCA, Nausicaa Delfas said “where any of these contracts extend beyond March 2019, the UK and the EU must, together, create contractual certainty, either through an implementation period or by some other means”.
  • Thomson Reuters Legal has published the results of a survey of businesses and the specific jurisdiction being used for contractual disputes. 35% of business surveyed have already changed jurisdiction, with 51% moving from the UK justice system to France or Germany.
  • In relation to medicines and supplies, the Health Secretary Matt Hancock has confirmed that NHS England is preparing to stockpile medicines and blood products in the event of “no deal”. Mr. Hancock told the Health Select Committee about his meetings with industry leaders over the last two weeks to deliver his message to accelerate preparations, whilst acknowledging that such stockpiling and preparation would carry with it a “cost implication”.
  • The “Final Say” campaign launched by the Independent newspaper has also gathered significant momentum this week. The campaign calls for the UK electorate to be given a vote on the final deal before the UK leaves the EU. Dominic Grieve, backing the campaign, was one of many who saw 190,000 signatures being collated within hours. Other MPs have stressed that the need for a public vote on the final deal was becoming “more urgent”.
  • Talks took place this week between Simon Coveney, Ireland’s Deputy Prime Minister and David Lidington, the Northern Ireland Secretary focusing on ways to reconvene the frozen Northern Ireland’s power sharing Government and Executive. Mr. Coveney, speaking after the talks, suggested that too many people were “talking up inappropriately” the likelihood of a no-deal Brexit and that the “tough stance” of almost welcoming no deal should be dropped with the UK demonstrating flexibility in its negotiations.

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