What are the potential legal consequences of Brexit?
On 18th and 19th February EU leaders gathered in Brussels to seek an agreement on the terms of a deal aimed at keeping Britain in the EU, ahead of a UK referendum on the issue. After lengthy negotiations, at 10:59 PM on 19th February Donald Tusk, the EU Council President, tweeted that a deal had been reached. He declared “we have secured a legally binding and irreversible deal decided on by all 28 leaders, strengthening Britain’s special status in the EU”.
The UK referendum is scheduled to take place on 23rd June.
Six cabinet members of the UK government have declared publicly they will campaign for Brexit. On 21st February, the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, also announced he will campaign for Brexit.
If the UK votes for Brexit in June, it is difficult to predict how that exit would be managed and effected, and what the precise implications will be for commercial parties. What is clear, however, is that while the details of any UK exit are being ironed out, parties may face legal uncertainty. Further, whatever form a Brexit might ultimately take, there is likely to be an impact on the legal rights and obligations of commercial parties in all sectors, as well as the wider legal framework.
In light of this, financial institutions, corporates and investors will need to have a plan in place to keep up with and respond to developments and to take and implement decisions on legal and operational matters efficiently and in a way that minimises potential risks.