What are the potential legal consequences of Brexit?

On Thursday 23rd June 2016 the UK electorate will vote on the question:  “Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?”

Although the official referendum period has not yet commenced (it starts on 15th April) there has already been much heated public debate on the issues surrounding the UK’s membership of the EU, as well as extensive press coverage in the British media of these issues. Current opinion polls suggest the vote may be tight.

If the UK votes to leave the EU on 23rd 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, which could take two (or more) years, commercial 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.

How we may assist you

Allen & Overy’s Global Law Intelligence Unit, led by Philip R Wood CBE, QC(Hon), has published a paper providing a lawyer's view on Brexit for the benefit of the firm's clients. A copy is available to the right of this page. The paper (dated 5 February 2016) expresses independent views which are not necessarily the views of Allen & Overy, and covers a wide range of legal issues to be considered. 

Allen & Overy is also publishing a series of detailed papers addressing the legal consequences of Brexit for commercial parties in certain specialist areas. These specialist papers can be accessed by clicking on the links below and new papers will be posted to this page as and when they are ready for publication.

Allen & Overy has in place a team of multi-disciplinary experts to advise on the potential legal implications of a Brexit. They will be on hand to advise on the legal implications of a Brexit across the full range of sectors and disciplines, including:

  • Anti-trust and state aid law
  • Company law
  • Contractual terms  
  • Consumer law  
  • Corporate crime  
  • Data protection  
  • Employment law  
  • Environmental and Climate Change Law 
  • Financial regulation
  • Human rights law  
  • Intellectual property law  
  • Litigation
  • Private international law
  • Restructuring and insolvency
  • Tax 

If you have any queries in relation to Brexit and its possible implications for your business, please contact any member of the team or your usual Allen & Overy contact.​

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