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Brexit: stay in or leave? Daniel Cottrell, Director & Head of Civil Litigation gives his views

Daniel Cottrell, Director and Head of Civil Litigation here gives his opinion on the effects of Brexit from a litigation perspective.

“The 23rd June 2016 closes in with the real possibility that Britain could be away from a very powerful membership. I am no expert on Brexit (far from it in fact) but, as a lawyer in dispute resolution, this would mean the UK’s legal system would be subject to change and would have an impact on all lawyers.

Brexit would cause a far from straight forward and very expensive system to separate EU legislation, with EU directives, for example, being required to be implemented into domestic legislation. Such legislation would continue unless repealed. In the absence of an agreement with EU member states, regulations without further domestic legislation are likely to come to an end. A large amount of legislation governing the UK is tied to EU law. The UK could move away from EU law and take advantage of its own development if the UK's legislation was no longer compelled by EU directives.

Contract disputes are certain to happen if Britain left the EU. A contractual requirement to comply with a particular piece of EU legislation may cause difficulties and parties may well seek to terminate a contract as a result, the more obvious reason being because of unforeseeable circumstances that prevent the fulfilment of the contract. This adds up to some very challenging issues of understanding and interpretation and no doubt at a cost.

Other foreseeable problems will be with enforcement action, what the governing law would be in jurisdictional challenges and how court proceedings can be served in the absence of EU regulations that currently apply. There will no doubt be a decline in the speed at which these matters are dealt with and this will cause considerable uncertainty that is for sure and it may well be a long time before we feel the impact.

Only time will tell and as lawyers we will have to adapt quickly so we can ensure our clients are aware and advised“.

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