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Brexit round-up – 07/12/18

Welcome to this, our latest Brexit round-up. Each week we provide a succinct round-up of the latest news surrounding the Brexit process, so you can keep abreast of the issues which are likely to affect your organisation.

House of Commons (HOC) commence debate on the Withdrawal Agreement

On 5 December 2018 the Brexit debates began in the HOC which are scheduled to conclude on 10 December. MPs found that Ministers were in contempt of Parliament, by refusing to publish full legal advice the Government received on the Withdrawal Agreement. Ministers have since published the legal advice which shows Theresa May was told an arrangement designed to prevent a hard Irish border could last “indefinitely” and the UK could not “lawfully exit” without EU agreement.  MPs also backed calls for the HOC to have a direct say in what happens if Parliament votes down the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal on 11 December. If Parliament votes against the deal the Government will have 21 days to decide what to do next and present the plan to MPs.

For more information, please click here and here.

Advocate General says UK can unilaterally cancel its withdrawal from the EU

The Advocate General Manuel Campos Sanchez-Bordona has told the European Court of Justice (ECJ) that EU law “allows the unilateral revocation of the notification of the intention to withdraw from the EU.” His opinion adds: “That possibility continues to exist until such time as the Withdrawal Agreement is formally concluded.” While the advocate general’s opinions are not legally binding, the ECJ tends to follow them in the majority of its final rulings. The whole issue of revocation remains hypothetical at present because the UK Government has so far made clear there is no possibility of seeking to revoke the notice to leave the EU. However, the statement raises question of whether and how the UK might revoke notification if the Withdrawal Agreement is voted down.

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Government launches ‘Brexit Deal Explained’ website

The Government has launched the ‘Brexit Deal Explained’ website to help the British public and businesses understand what the Brexit deal will deliver. The website explains the Withdrawal Agreement, which sets out the terms of the UK’s smooth and orderly exit from the European Union, and the Political Declaration, which sets out a framework for the UK’s ambitious future relationship with the European Union that delivers in our national interest. The website also details what the Brexit deal means for our economy, jobs, security, free trade, businesses and borders.

For more information, please click here.

Department for International Trade (DIT) submits draft UK services schedule

On 3 December 2018, the DIT has announced that the Government has submitted the draft services schedule for formal approval by the World Trade Organization (WTO) members. The announcement confirms that the schedule seeks to replicate the UK’s existing commitments under the WTO General Agreement on Trade in Services and gives overseas businesses the same level of guaranteed access to the UK service sector as they currently have. The DIT sees this as a technical exercise that will provide continuity for business and states that, in future, the DIT will work with other members to further liberalise international trade services. WTO members have 45 days to raise objections to the schedule.

For more information, please click here.

We have recently created a Brexit checklist to assist businesses with the various challenges and opportunities presented by Brexit. Please click here to view.

If you have any questions about any of the issues which are raised, or would like to discuss your own organisation’s options in the lead-up to Brexit, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Please note that this briefing is designed to be informative, not advisory and represents our understanding of English law and practice as at the date indicated. We would always recommend that you should seek specific guidance on any particular legal issue.

This page may contain links that direct you to third party websites. We have no control over and are not responsible for the content, use by you or availability of those third party websites, for any products or services you buy through those sites or for the treatment of any personal information you provide to the third party.

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