On 23 June 2016, the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union by 51.9% to 48.1%. In our post-referendum Brexit briefing, we summarised the required next steps, the five possible models that had been the subject of discussion leading up to the referendum and the legal implications of Brexit.
Following Theresa May's speech to the Conservative Party Conference in early October 2016, the timing and shape of Brexit has now become clearer.
The Central Bank of Ireland has also provided some clarity on its approach to institutions considering relocating their operations from the UK to Ireland.
TRIGGERING ARTICLE 50
As discussed in our post-referendum Brexit briefing, the UK Government must serve notice on the European Council under Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union before Brexit negotiations can start. Theresa May confirmed that this will take place before the end of March 2017. Unless the two year negotiation period is extended by unanimous agreement at the European Council, the UK will exit the EU by March 2019.
The UK Government's ability to serve notice under Article 50 without the involvement of Parliament has been challenged. While Theresa May has agreed to a parliamentary debate on Brexit before serving the Article 50 notice, she has not agreed to a parliamentary vote on the Government's Brexit strategy, and has emphasised that "...[it] is up to the Government to trigger Article Fifty and the Government alone".
THE 'GREAT REPEAL BILL'
A significant open question since the June 2016 vote in favour of Brexit was how the UK would deal with the significant body of EU law that currently applies in the UK. In her speech, Theresa May confirmed that:
a 'Great Repeal Bill' will be presented shortly to Parliament pursuant to which, with effect from the date that Brexit formally takes place, the European Communities Act 1972 (which gives effect to EU law in the UK) will cease to apply and the existing body of EU law will be converted into UK law - this is with a view to providing "maximum certainty" at the time of Brexit as to what laws will apply immediately thereafter; and Parliament can subsequently amend or repeal any of those laws, but this will have to take place in accordance with the normal procedures for amending or repealing UK law. WHAT FORM MIGHT BREXIT TAKE?
The phrases "Brexit means Brexit" and "hard Brexit" have been much used in the media recently. While Theresa May has emphasised that she will not be providing...