Brexit - What does it mean for business?

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Brexit - What does it mean for business?

The UK has taken the momentous decision to leave the EU.  What’s the timeframe for the exit and what are some of the immediate implications for business?


The exit process

  • The exit process is started by the service of an “Article 50 notice” on the European Council. The Prime Minister has stated that it is right for his successor to serve the notice, i.e. not before the Conservative Party Conference in October 2016 and quite likely later than that.
  • Once served there is a two year timetable to negotiate the exit which can be extended by the unanimous decision of all the remaining EU Member States.  If no agreement is reached the UK will automatically exit after the two year period.
  • It is highly unlikely that formal exit will occur before the end of 2018.

European legislation

  • EU laws will cease to apply from the point at which we exit although all UK legislation which has been adopted to implement EU law over the last 40 years will remain in place until Parliament repeals or amends such legislation.
  • Whatever trading model emerges from the exit negotiations, continuing trade with Europe will be a priority for many businesses and compliance with EU regulations will therefore be required.    

What should you do about it?

  • Continue to comply with all of your current legal and contractual obligations.
  • Manage cash, have disciplined debt control and take enforcement action if required.
  • Carry out an audit of your contracts and create a contract register to note the key contractual terms and conditions including expiry dates.
  • Consider the contractual commitments that you are planning to make now including those with new employees. Carefully consider obligations that will last into 2019 and seek advice if required.

For more information please contact Alistair Maclean, Legal Director. 

Alistair Maclean

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Published: 28 Jun 2016

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