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BREXIT – The Legal Perspective

On 23rd June 2016, UK residents will have the power to determine whether we as a nation stay a member of the EU.

The live debates between the politicians have been aired this week and we have all now received our leaflets through the door telling us why the government believe we should remain, but what would leaving the EU really mean from a legal perspective?

Unfortunately, the simple answer is that nobody yet knows. What is clear is that if the nation does vote out, measures will need to be put in place, and fast, to make sure everyone knows the score.

If the UK does leave the EU, it would need to be determined what links the UK would have with the EU; whether we would be wholly independent as a country or enter into a separate form of free trade agreement with the EU.

Many of our UK laws are formed through directly effective EU legislation or our own domestic law implementing the EU Directives. Whilst the EU directs what laws should be adopted and has overriding authority over adopted laws, we as a county implement these through our own legal statutes. This means that if the UK does leave the EU, we will still have a foundation of English law upon which to build post-Brexit regulations.

Until the votes have been counted on 23rd June 2016, nobody will know for definite what the future may hold for our UK lawyers and business owners, but here are some points to consider:

TRADEMARKS

Currently a UK business has an option when registering their trademarks as to whether they wish to obtain national rights or apply for EU-wide protection. If the UK were to leave the EU, legislation would be required to determine the extent of the protection which would then be enforceable by business owners.

CONTRACT LAW

The main area for consideration would be the interpretation of ‘English law’ and terms based upon an EU market. Where a contract prescribes that English law applies, legal advisors will need to have a framework to identify what qualifies as ‘English law’ post-Brexit.

It will be important to identify how contracts entered into pre-Brexit should be interpreted post-Brexit and the implications of this.

TAX

Many UK business owners face challenges with the cross-border and overseas tax rules currently in place. With the UK’s status potentially changing, this could open the floodgates for tax reform in the UK and potentially a more streamlined approach being adopted.

 

If you have any questions about how you or your business may be affected by the Brexit results, please contact us on 01926 499889.  Although, fair warning: your guess may well be as good as ours!  Even the experts have no way of knowing the future…

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