Women’s rights post-Brexit

Brexit is likely to do real damage to women who would be disproportionately affected by a bonfire of workers’ rights, warns Aileen McColgan

EU membership has been extremely significant to the rights of women in the UK, particularly in the area discrimination/equality rights which are the focus of this article. 

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Article 50: the trigger that never was?

With the start of Brexit negotiations drawing closer David Wolchover argues that the Prime Minister has not triggered Art 50 of the Treaty on European Union

On 29 March Sir Tim Barrow delivered a letter from the UK Prime Minister Theresa May to European Council President Donald Tusk purporting to give notice under Art 50(2) of the Treaty on European Union of Britain’s decision to quit the EU.

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Choice of law post-Brexit

Will Brexit reduce London’s dominance as a litigation centre? Michael McParland QC examines the potential impact on use of English jurisdiction and choice of law agreements

‘One of the attractions of English law as a legal system of choice in commercial matters is its stability and continuity…’ Wood v Sureterm Direct Ltd [2017] UKSC 24, para [15]

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Terrorism: the EU picture

David Anderson QC examines the post-Brexit implications for national security and identifies potential fault lines for future security cooperation with the EU

As jihadi fighters from Europe return from the battlefields of Syria, sometimes by complex overland routes, the advantages of a coordinated European response to terrorism seem obvious.

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The Brexit Papers

In a welter of longer treatises, the Bar’s Brexit Papers have been described as ‘gold dust’. Written in the public interest to inform and guide the negotiations ahead, Hugh Mercer QC highlights the value of the Bar’s topic-based and clear-sighted analyses

One of the difficulties in predicting the impact of Brexit on different fields is that the government’s strategic priorities have been expressed in fairly general terms. 

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Brexit justice priorities

Protecting cross-border legal practice rights must be a priority in the government’s Brexit negotiations, according to a high profile cross-party committee.

The Justice Committee’s report, Implications of Brexit for the justice system, highlighted four key priorities: continue cooperation on criminal justice as closely as possible; maintain access to the EU’s inter-state commercial law regulations; enable cross-border legal practice rights and opportunities; and retain efficient mechanisms to resolve family law cases involving EU member states and the UK.

The Committee said that the overall implications of Brexit for the legal services sector give ‘cause for concern’ and warned that the ability of the legal services sector to underpin many areas of UK economic activity would be diminished without protection of existing practising rights there for UK lawyers.

Chairman Bob Neill said: ‘The UK’s legal services sector makes a £25.7bn annual economic contribution. It relies on openness, and its lawyers’ current rights to practice across EU member states help small businesses and ordinary people as well as large firms and wealthy individuals.’

The committee also argued that the Court of the Justice of the European Union should retain its jurisdicton in the UK, stating it is a ‘price worth paying’ to maintain effective cross-border tools of justice.

The Bar Council said the committee had reached some ‘sensible conclusions’ and, in its own Brexit Papers, called on the government to give EU citizens unrestricted access to UK jobs in post-Brexit Britain.

See further The Brexit Papers (Counsel, May 2017).

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Strength testing the British constitution


Following the triggering of Art 50, Anneli Howard assesses the possible ramifications of the Supreme Court’s Miller ruling, other associated litigation and key next steps for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU

The British are famous for their unwritten constitution, which has evolved over the last 800 years. 

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The Bar Council & Brexit

Information from the Brexit Working Group

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Westminster Watch

With the formal process of disengagement about to begin, Mark Hatcher examines the challenges faced in converting a huge corpus of EU law and delivering Brexit

Brexit continues to dominate life at Westminster. 

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Lawyers voice doubts over PM’s Brexit Bill

Senior lawyers, business leaders and academics urged the government to give MPs the power to block an ‘unpatriotic Brexit’ if the Prime Minister, Theresa May, does not strike a deal that is in the national interest.

A letter in The Times newspaper, organised by Mark Stephens, a media law partner at London firm Howard Kennedy, came as peers began to debate the controversial ‘Brexit Bill’.

It said: ‘We believe Parliament should amend the Article 50 notification bill to ensure that it can determine what should be done if negotiations break down.

‘Parliament’s vote on any emerging settlement must also permit, if the terms are not in the national interest, amendment or extension of the negotiations, and to allow the country the option of an alternative relationship with the EU, including the possibility of membership.’

Signatories included Baroness Kennedy QC, Ben Emmerson QC, of Matrix Chambers, Alexander Layton QC, of 20 Essex Street, Peter Montegriffo QC, John Vater QC, of Harcourt Chambers, Tim Ward QC and Jon Turner QC, of Monckton Chambers, and Jolyon Maugham QC, of Devereux Chambers.

It followed an opinion from three of the UK’s most senior EU law experts – Sir David Edward QC, Sir Francis Jacobs QC, and Sir Jeremy Lever QC, commissioned by law firm Bindmans. Dubbed the ‘three knights opinion’, it suggested that the EU (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill does not authorise Brexit and that a further Act of Parliament would be required if it is to occur in a way that is lawful.

Parliament passed the Brexit Bill unamended on 13 March.

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