Brexit Date 29 March 2019: Countdown for shipping goods from the UK and to the UK from Asia, Americas and Africa

Brexit is scheduled to Brexit Clockbecome effective at the end of 29 March 2019 and will take place either with a Withdrawal Agreement or without one having been entered into between the UK and the EU-27. At this point in time it is possible that the Article 50 TEU notice is withdrawn by the UK Government. Whether the Brexit Date 29 March 2019 is postponed upon application of the UK and agreed with the unanimous consent of the other 27 Member States is still undecided.

Upon Brexit becoming effective the UK will cease to be party to the existing Free Trade Agreements and Association Agreements the EU currently has entered into with a multitude of countries and regional free trade zones around the world in the last decades. The UK is currently striving to enter into its own binding agreements with such other countries to come into force on 30 March 2019 but so far only continuity agreements with Switzerland and a number of smaller UK trading partners have been inked.

There is no difference between a “Deal” and a “No Deal” Scenario in relation to the termination of the existing Free Trade Agreement and Association Agreements on 29 March 2019. Even if the UK House of Commons should change its mind and ratify the Withdrawal Agreement, and even if the Transition Period until 31 December 2020 contemplated in the Withdrawal Agreement under Articles 126 and 127 thereof would then come into force, such Transition Period only applies in the relationship between the UK and the EU-27, but does not bind any other country around the world without their express consent.

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Is your business prepared for “no deal”?

Brexit ArrowWith continuing uncertainty, there is still a lack of clarity on what the final Brexit arrangements will look like. Many companies have been planning for the implications of Brexit for some time, whereas some still need to consider how Brexit may affect their operations. Both the UK government and the EU are encouraging businesses to prepare for the possibility of a no-deal Brexit. Regardless of size, plans need to be put in place so that businesses can quickly react to whatever the final Brexit deal looks like.

As a result, we have put together a Brexit Readiness Guide which is intended to help businesses navigate the continuing uncertainty and possibility of “no deal”, along with a summary of the core services we provide to help you and your business prepare for the ultimate outcome.

Brexit – Where are we now?

Brexit Countdown

Over the period since the rejection of the Withdrawal Agreement, the Prime Minister’s tactic has been to try to bring the pro-Brexit wing of the Conservative Party, and the Northern Ireland Democratic Unionists, back on side.  No.10 appear to have been successful in whittling the pro-Brexit wing’s nominal resistance to the Withdrawal Agreement (which was very wide ranging at the time of the vote on 15th Jan) down to just the Northern Ireland backstop – the failsafe mechanism in the Withdrawal Agreement to ensure that there will be no hard border on the island of Ireland, but which the Pro-Brexit wing fear is a trap to keep the UK permanently in customs and regulatory alignment with the EU.  Until yesterday morning, No.10 hoped to achieve this without attempting to renegotiate the Withdrawal Agreement, something the EU has been adamant is not on the cards.  But No.10’s aim for a legally binding side agreement looked unlikely to bring the Brexiteers on side.  So on Tuesday the PM announced that she was willing to go back to the EU and to seek changes to the Withdrawal Agreement.  This – some would say desperate – volte face by the Prime Minister is very significant background to yesterday’s votes in Parliament.

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EU Settlement Scheme Public Test Phase Now Open

WebinarEU citizens and their family members may now apply under the EU Settlement Scheme as part of a public test phase, running from 21 January 2019.

Register now for our Brexit Immigration webinar on EU Settlement and the White Paper at 12.30pm on Thursday 24 January for practical guidance on how to support your affected employees through the application process.

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No-Deal Brexit and Contemplated German Temporary Permissions Scheme for Banks, Insurers and Financial Services Providers

As it stands, the UK will cease to be a member state of the European Union (EU) as of 30 March 2019.

On 24 November 2018, the UK and the EU agreed to enter into a Withdrawal Agreement (the Withdrawal Agreement). The Withdrawal Agreement provides in Article 127 (6) that during a transition period from 30 March 2019 to 31 December 2020 (the Transition Period), any reference in EU law to a member state of the EU shall include the UK.

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No-Deal Brexit and EU Commission Approach: General Principle of No Contingency Measures for UK Economic Operators

As it stands, the UK will cease to be a member state of the European Union as of 30 March 2019.

On 24 November 2018 the UK and the EU agreed to enter into a Withdrawal Agreement. The Withdrawal Agreement provides in Article 127 (6) that during a transition period from 30 March 2019 to 31 December 2020 any reference in EU law to a Member State of the EU shall include the UK and accordingly the legal position of economic operators from the UK as of today would in principle continue to apply during the transition period, provided that the Withdrawal Agreement is finally adopted and entered into by the UK and the EU.

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The Immigration White Paper Is Finally Here

The Government has finally published the delayed Immigration White Paper. Here’s a brief summary of the key proposals and concerns, what employers should do next and how our dedicated Immigration team can help.

As one of the fundamental challenges facing UK businesses post-Brexit, it is really important that you have your say on the proposals. There will be a 12-month consultation process so there is time to think about your response but please register your interest here and we will send further guidance and related events in the New Year.

Brexit: Could The UK Really Unilaterally Revoke Its Article 50 Notification?

In an Opinion released today Advocate General Campos Sánchez-Bordona has proposed that the Court of Justice should declare that Article 50 TEU allows for the unilateral revocation of a notification by a Member State of an intention to withdraw from the EU.

The Advocate General’s Opinion is not binding on the Court of Justice. Many expect the Court will give an expedited ruling on the matter before Christmas but there is currently no certainty that it will do so at the current time. In 80% of cases the Court will follow the Opinion of the Advocate General unless there is a clear reason to disagree (which cannot be ruled out in the present case) but in the meantime there will be a period of legal uncertainty during which it is entirely possible that the UK Parliament’s view of the available options could differ from the Her Majesty’s government’s and the EU’s. Continue Reading

VAT and Brexit: The Past, Present and Future

Brexit gives rise to significant challenges for the UK in relation to VAT. The UK aspires to frictionless cross-border trade with the EU after it has left, or at least borders that are as frictionless as possible, but, at least until technology has further advanced, VAT necessitates a border between those who are inside a common VAT area and those who are not. What then is the future for VAT in the UK?  In this provocative and wide-ranging article, authors Jeremy Cape, Partner, Squire Patton Boggs, and Max Schofield, Barrister, 3PB Barristers, present the most ambitious attempt so far to consider what the UK might do on VAT after Brexit.  The article was first published in Vol. 27 of EC Tax Review 2018.