Brexit: Fresh Perspectives

The UK has left the EU but there remains a vast array of operational and legal issues for businesses to address. See below for our perspectives on the key challenges and opportunities that Brexit presents for different industries and sectors.

13 min read

Thought leadership series
Brexit: Fresh Perspectives


A false dusk? The outlook for disputes in the UK post-Brexit

28 July 2021 - White & Case partners Edward Attenborough and Charles Balmain have published an article in the Commercial Dispute Resolution Magazine.

Environmental law after Brexit

09 March 2021 - It has now been a year since the UK exited the EU and a matter of months since the transition period came to an end. For the most part, there have not been major changes to environmental regulation in the UK. Instead, the UK has made small tweaks to its rules so that they make sense in the post-Brexit reality. Such tweaks may appear minor, but they can have major consequences for business. On top of this, divergences between EU and UK environmental laws are starting to creep in and going forward we can anticipate more.

State aid and the Brexit Trade Agreement: what's new, what's not, and what's next

04 February 2021 - State aid remained one of the key sticking points in Brexit negotiations right until the announcement of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement ("TCA") on Christmas Eve 2020. One of the key priorities of the European Union ("EU") during the negotiations was to secure a "level playing field" on State aid, in order to ensure that EU-based companies would not be competing with UK businesses that were in receipt of subsidies that did not conform to the subsidy limitation rules imposed by the EU State aid regime. The UK's concern was its insistence that, post-Brexit, it must not be bound by evolving EU rules, including State aid guidelines, and should not be bound by the jurisprudence of the Court of Justice of the European Union ("CJEU") when it comes to interpreting and applying State aid rules.

Brexit: What does this mean for organisations based in the UK, EU or third countries including the US?

02 February 2021 - Brexit has taken place, with the UK formally leaving the EU Single Market and Customs Union on 31 December 2020. The UK and EU concluded the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement on 24 December 2020. Goods and services moving between the EU and the UK are now subject to different rules and different licensing and compliance regimes.

Implications of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement for Financial Services

12 January 2021 - With the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement of 24 December 2020 ("Agreement"), the UK and the EU have fundamentally changed market access for financial services firms. As of 1 January 2021, UK financial services firms intending to do business in the EU are no longer allowed to make use of the European Single Market and offer their services cross-border based on the European Passport. Therefore, the implications of the Agreement for financial services are more severe than for trade, coming close to the effects of a no-deal (hard) Brexit. Especially the role of London as the main hub of the EU's financial market will change, as services such as the trading in EU shares are shifting to the continent.

Dispute Resolution Post-Brexit Transition Period

06 January 2021 - For the duration of the Brexit transition period, the UK/EU Withdrawal Agreement provided for EU law to continue to apply to the UK. The transition period concluded on 31 December 2020 and, as widely anticipated, the UK and the EU did not agree any ongoing regime for cross-border cooperation on choice of law, courts and enforcement of court judgments, notwithstanding the successful conclusion of the UK/EU Withdrawal Agreement.



What business needs to know about trading goods under the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement

30 December 2020 - In this alert, we focus on the key takeaways for trade in goods under the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement ("EU-UK TCA"). Bilateral trade between the UK and EU will be duty free and quota free provided the relevant origin rules are satisfied. Customs formalities will apply, although certain simplifications will be available at the outset or over time.

Brexit trade deal allows data transfers to continue (for now)

29 December 2020 - In a positive development for multinational businesses, the Brexit Trade and Cooperation Agreement provides a temporary solution to allow the continued transfer of personal data from the EEA to the UK without the need for additional compliance measures, while the European Commission considers an adequacy decision in respect of the UK.

EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement announced on Christmas Eve – a nail-biting finish to the negotiations

28 December 2020 - After countless deadlines have come and gone, with a deal 90% done but three intransigent sticking points, on 24 December 2020 the UK and EU finally announced "agreement in principle" had been reached on their future relationship.


Video series
Brexit: Fresh Perspectives

The end of the Brexit transition period will bring significant changes to the UK, EU Member States, the EU as an institution and the world beyond Europe, regardless of what agreement may or may not be made to govern new relationships in the post-Brexit world. As events continue to unfold, we will be sharing regular short videos and other content from our industry group experts, commenting on what impact Brexit may have on your sector and business.

21 December 2020How will the UK sanctions and export control regime change in 2021? – In the ninth of this series, Brussels-based counsel Sara Nordin considers how the UK sanctions and export control regime is likely to change in 2021.

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03 December 2020Impact of Brexit on commercial litigation – In the eighth of this series, London-based associate Swati Tripathi discusses the impact of a no-deal Brexit on commercial litigation given the prevalent use of English law and English courts in cross-border commercial contracts.

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13 November 2020Introduction from Daisy McAndrew – In the introduction to this series, Daisy McAndrew, journalist and former Chief Political Correspondent for ITV News, shares her thoughts on the Brexit negotiations.

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12 November 2020Impact of Brexit on English schemes of arrangement – In the seventh of this series, London-based partner Ian Wallace considers whether English schemes of arrangement will continue to be a viable tool in cross-border corporate restructurings after Brexit.

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9 November 2020The issue of state aid – In the sixth of this series, Brussels-based partner Genevra Forwood considers the issue of state aid, one of the last sticking points in the EU-UK negotiations.

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29 October 2020What Brexit means for customs and trade – In the fifth of this series, Brussels-based partner Jacquelyn MacLennan explains why, deal or no deal, frictionless trade between the UK and the EU is finished.

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27 October 2020 - Impact of Brexit on mergers and antitrust cases - In the fourth of this series, London-based partner Marc Israel considers the significant impact that Brexit will have on how mergers and antitrust cases are dealt with in the UK at the end of the transition period.

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27 October 2020 - Trade between the UK and other countries post Brexit - In the third of this series, London-based partner Iain MacVay comments on how the trade laws applicable to UK trade with the EU and with the rest of the world will change after Brexit.

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19 October 2020 - Data Protection Compliance After Brexit - In the second of this series, London-based partner Tim Hickman discusses the data protection implications of Brexit for UK businesses.

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15 October 2020 - Tips for UK financial services firms doing business in the EU - In the first of this series, Berlin-based partner and head of the Firm's German Financial Services Regulatory practice, Henning Berger, shares his insights on the significant changes Brexit will bring for UK based financial services firms doing business in the EU.

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The Commission adopts time-limited equivalence decision for UK CCPs: EU financial stability considerations for the supply of clearing services after Brexit

21 October 2020 - On 21 September 2020, the European Commission adopted a time-limited equivalence decision for UK clearinghouses (also referred to as central counterparties ("CCPs")) in view of EU financial stability considerations, which extends market access to UK CCPs for 18 months after the expiry of the Brexit transition period.

The Internal Market Bill, the EU Withdrawal Agreement and the risk of no deal on the EU-UK future relationship

17 September 2020 - The Government's proposed Internal Market Bill has prompted much debate regarding the UK's approach to international law, as well as the internal constitutional architecture of the UK. The EU has raised the prospect of a legal challenge against the UK under the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement (the "Agreement"). The prospect of a challenge results from provisions in the UK's Internal Market Bill (the "Bill") that the EU considers to be in violation of the Agreement. The challenge would be under the dispute settlement provisions set out in the Agreement.

Prospects of agreement on the future EU-UK relationship by end 2020: Could fish and State aid sink the deal?

31 July 2020 - Over four months into the formal bilateral negotiations between the EU and the UK to reach agreement on their future relationship, is there land ahoy?  What are the realistic chances of a deal by the end of this year?

Brexit: Prospects for EU-UK Trade Negotiations

23 January 2020 - Now that the UK Government has a majority in Parliament to pass the EU (Withdrawal) Act before its invocation of Article 50 of the Treaty of European Union expires on 31 January 2020, the threat of the UK leaving the EU without a new trade agreement (a “no deal” outcome) is no longer imminent. However, it cannot be ignored entirely.

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Hard or Soft Brexit – does it matter for the origin of goods?

28 March 2019 - The United Kingdom (UK) leaving the European Union (EU) will inevitably result in difficulties for businesses using UK content in their products for export under EU Free Trade Agreements, or for UK businesses using EU content under future UK FTAs.

Frustrated by Brexit? Too high a hurdle to overcome for the EMA

28 February 2019 - One of the multitude of uncertainties currently facing commercial parties potentially affected by Brexit is the effect on their existing commercial contracts, specifically whether the new circumstances of Brexit provide a "get out" from their bargain. Some welcome clarity has now been provided by the English High Court's recent judgment in Canary Wharf (BP4) T1 Limited and others v European Medicines Agency1, although how that decision will be applied in future cases remains to be seen.

Brexit preparedness for financial services: the German response

7 February 2019 - The House of Commons recently rejected the Withdrawal Agreement. While the UK Parliament is still debating how to leave the EU, a hard Brexit remains an option. To prepare for this possibility, the UK, EU Commission and EU27 have taken measures to minimize disruption in various areas. The need for regulatory changes depends on whether the UK will leave with or without a deal. In the event of a no deal, the German Government recently proposed a Draft German Brexit Act which aims to uphold certain aspects of the current passporting regime for UK financial service providers post 29 March 2019.

No Deal: Data Protection Compliance After Brexit

30 January 2019 - On 29 March 2019, the UK will formally leave the EU unless an extension, or a negotiated solution, is agreed between the UK and the European Commission. There is currently no agreement regarding the UK's status from a data protection perspective and crucially, no agreement concerning transfers of personal data from the EU to the UK. In the absence of an agreement on these issues, or in the event of a "no deal" Brexit, the UK will be considered a "third country". This will create additional compliance challenges for organisations.

Italy Readies Measures for a No-Deal Brexit

30 January 2019 - On January 24, 2019 the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance ("MEF") published a press release announcing that the Italian government has readied a set of measures necessary to ensure full continuity for financial markets should the United Kingdom leave the European Union without a deal.

Trading activities between UK and German broker-dealers post Brexit – The German regulatory perspective

29 January 2019 - Set forth below is the joint view of the undersigned law firms on the German regulatory position for UK broker-dealers who continue to deal in financial instruments with broker-dealer counterparties based in Germany following a hard Brexit (i.e. no transition period, no equivalence decision for UK investment firms pursuant to Article 47 of Regulation (EU) No 600/2014 (MiFIR)). In this paper, references to German broker-dealers mean any bank or broker-dealer (including German branches of foreign firms) based in and operating from Germany and undertaking the regulated investment ser-vice or activity of dealing on own account (Eigenhandel and Eigengeschäft). References to UK bro-ker-dealers similarly mean any bank or broker-dealer (including UK branches of non-UK firms) based in and operating from the UK and undertaking the regulated investment service or activity of dealing on own account with a German broker-dealer.

Technology Newsflash: "No deal" Brexit Plan of Action

14 January 2019 - As the approach of Brexit draws inexorably closer, the continued lack of certainty around what any Brexit withdrawal deal will look like, or indeed whether a deal will be agreed at all, is causing increasing concern among the business community. For the technology sector, and those working on technology-enabled projects, that concern is particularly strong. It spans from issues such as access to high calibre employees, to the impact of Brexit on the complex web of supply chains and existing and future contracts covering the EU and UK, and loss of access to the Digital Single Market.

Should the Government lose the 'meaningful vote' – what next?

9 January 2019 - The EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018 requires Parliament to pass a motion approving the withdrawal agreement and the framework for the future relationship between the UK and the EU. This so-called 'meaningful vote' was due to take place on 11 December 2018 but was called off by the Prime Minister the day before, in the face of likely defeat. It has now been confirmed that the vote will proceed on 15 January 2019 (with press reports suggesting that the Government will provide further reassurances on the controversial Irish backstop). But what happens if MPs fail to vote for the deal next week? We look at some of the options.

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The Road to Brexit

Updated: 6 December 2018 - As the Withdrawal Agreement is pending in Parliament, the effects of Brexit remain unclear.

Brexit Countdown – Trade in Goods and Services

3 December 2018 - UK Prime Minister May and the political leaders of the EU-27 have endorsed the draft Withdrawal Agreement that is intended to end the UK's membership of the EU on 29 March 2019. They have also indicated their support for the Political Declaration on the framework for the future relationship between the UK and the EU-27, including on trade, that will apply after the end of a transition period, at the latest by December 2022.

Brexit - Trade in goods under the draft Withdrawal Agreement endorsed on 25 November 2018 by the UK and the EU

28 November 2018 - On 25 November 2018, the EU27 and the UK during a special meeting of the European Council endorsed the draft Withdrawal Agreement as well as a political declaration on the future bilateral relationship, marking an important milestone in the Brexit negotiations. This alert focuses on the effects the draft Withdrawal Agreement (if agreed as such) would have on trade in goods between the UK and the EU27 and between the UK and third countries. At this stage, it is uncertain whether or not the Withdrawal Agreement will take effect on 30 March 2019 as envisaged, as it still has to be approved by both the UK and EU parliaments.

The Role of the English Courts Post Brexit: Emerging Challengers?

29 October 2018 - Brexit, and the potential impact it may have on the relationship between the UK and EU Member State court systems, has been a catalyst for the emergence of new English law and language international commercial courts and tribunals in EU jurisdictions. Will these pose a threat to London?

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This article is prepared for the general information of interested persons. It is not, and does not attempt to be, comprehensive in nature. Due to the general nature of its content, it should not be regarded as legal advice.

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