UK and Belgian bars sign agreement as concerns mount for the profession in no-deal Brexit

UK and Belgian bars sign agreement as concerns mount for the profession in no-deal Brexit

The Brussels Bar and four other legal professional bodies will lobby the Belgian government to ensure UK lawyers don’t lose their right of audience in the country’s courts in the event of a no-deal Brexit, according to a memorandum of understanding signed this week.

The move comes as a report published today (4 October) stated that a no-deal exit at the end of the month would result in an ‘irreducible amount of legal uncertainty’ that would be bad for both UK business and the rule of law.  Continue reading “UK and Belgian bars sign agreement as concerns mount for the profession in no-deal Brexit”

Guest comment: Has ‘far more assertive’ Supreme Court over-reached in Miller 2?

Guest comment: Has ‘far more assertive’ Supreme Court over-reached in Miller 2?

For some, Miller 2 is the most significant constitutional case for centuries. For others, just another act in the Shakespearean tragedy or comedy that is Brexit. As an editor of the UK Constitutional Law Blog I have found that lawyers made just as much fuss about the first case brought by Gina Miller in relation to Article 50 as they have over this recent decision. And yet still the constitution carries on; apocalyptic predictions of its demise are surely exaggerated?

It can certainly be argued that it takes more than a high-profile litigator, even one who gets two bites of the cherry (forgive the pun), to overturn our 800-year old constitution. But Miller 2 is, jurisprudentially, very different from Miller 1. It will take time to assimilate the various strands of the decision and we also wait to see whether the courts use it as a launch-pad into further political space. But simply in terms of its reasoning and robust language it already represents a far more assertive judicial attitude to Crown-Parliament relations than we have seen before. Although dressed up as a defence of Parliament, make no mistake, the Court is asserting its own constitutional position under the guise of being Parliament’s trouble-shooter. And if the Supreme Court follows up with further strident interventions in other areas of political decision-making, for example surrounding implementation of the ‘Benn Act’, the consequence could be a self-transformation of our highest appellate court into a constitutional court, comparable to other politically-engaged judicial powerhouses around the world. Continue reading “Guest comment: Has ‘far more assertive’ Supreme Court over-reached in Miller 2?”

European Court of Justice makes landmark Brexit ruling as Fieldfisher prevails in $1.9bn Ukrainian banking dispute

European Court of Justice makes landmark Brexit ruling as Fieldfisher prevails in $1.9bn Ukrainian banking dispute

As a crunch parliamentary vote on Theresa May’s Brexit deal looks to be postponed, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled the UK is free to unilaterally revoke its decision to a divorce from the EU.

The landmark ruling means that UK parliament can instruct the government to bring an end to the Brexit process, if it so wishes. Continue reading “European Court of Justice makes landmark Brexit ruling as Fieldfisher prevails in $1.9bn Ukrainian banking dispute”

The Brexit countdown – The Irish question

The Brexit countdown – The Irish question

‘A dense population in extreme distress inhabits an island’ – that is how Disraeli began to define the Irish Question in the Commons in 1844. Without much hyperbole, it also defines the current state of the UK. Over halfway through the two-year time limit prescribed by article 50, but with no Brexit deal in sight, the Irish Question still resonates: now less about a united independent Ireland, rather more about an independent but divided Britain.

The Irish Republic, whose economy and culture are closer to the UK than any other, is the only EU member state that also shares a land border. Resolving this 310-mile conundrum – maintaining the open border guaranteed by the Good Friday Agreement while finessing its position in the EU single market and customs union – has become a fault line between the government in London and EU leaders. The Irish taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, has ruled out tripartite talks on the issue and rejected Theresa May’s suggestion that customs arrangements on the US-Canada border could provide a post-Brexit model. Continue reading “The Brexit countdown – The Irish question”

The edge of the cliff – Brexit response for worried GCs

The edge of the cliff – Brexit response for worried GCs

For UK business, 2018 will be dominated by one question: when do we push the button on Brexit? Months of scenario planning have given a sense of the possible outcomes, but there is little confidence that a decision will be taken in full possession of the facts.

‘We are 500 or so days on from the referendum, and it is still not clear what the arrangements between the UK and the EU will be,’ notes Kirsty Cooper, group general counsel (GC) and company secretary at Aviva. ‘As GCs we are being asked to give our best guess, but the scale of the conjecture with Brexit is unusual.’ Continue reading “The edge of the cliff – Brexit response for worried GCs”

Brexit boost continues for Dublin as Covington launches life sciences team in Ireland

Brexit boost continues for Dublin as Covington launches life sciences team in Ireland

A Brexit-driven boost to Dublin as a professional services hub has been much discussed and now appears to be materialising as Covington & Burling has confirmed that it is the second international law firm to launch locally following last year’s referendum vote.

The Dublin launch, which is still subject to regulatory approval, will focus on regulation, pharma and life sciences and be overseen by London-based EU life sciences partner Grant Castle and technology partner Daniel Cooper. Continue reading “Brexit boost continues for Dublin as Covington launches life sciences team in Ireland”

Top 100 firms defy Brexit upheaval with confident performance in first quarter of 2017/18

Top 100 firms defy Brexit upheaval with confident performance in first quarter of 2017/18

A lack of clarity on the state of Brexit negotiations together with tougher macroeconomic conditions don’t seem to have impacted the UK top 100 law firms which posted an average 8.5% increase in fee income for the quarter ending July 2017.

Deloitte’s quarterly legal sector survey showed the growth was largely due to a 7% increase in fees-per-fee earner at the country’s top players. However, despite this top-line growth, the growth in chargeable hours per fee earner at the top ten UK law firms was lower at 3%. Continue reading “Top 100 firms defy Brexit upheaval with confident performance in first quarter of 2017/18”

Prepare for a bumpy Brexit ride and to be ignored

Prepare for a bumpy Brexit ride and to be ignored

For months I’ve refrained from adding to the reams of pointless Brexit commentary given that until developments develop, not much can reasonably be said. But now article 50 has been triggered, there is a little more to work with.

Actually, I could have taken a break from banging on about King & Wood Mallesons a little earlier since by January it was clear that the UK government was tilting towards a hard Brexit and the UK losing access to the single market.

Continue reading “Prepare for a bumpy Brexit ride and to be ignored”

The blueprint – clients and advisers scramble as the UK kicks off Brexit

The blueprint – clients and advisers scramble as the UK kicks off Brexit

While the outcomes are far from clear, Legal Business asks how advisers and clients can best tackle Brexit

 

‘There are known knowns… There are known unknowns… but there are also unknown unknowns.’

 

Former US Secretary of State for Defence, Donald Rumsfeld, took a lot of flak when he famously uttered these words in 2002, used with regard to weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Today, they would not sound out of place coming from a lawyer speculating on the impact of Brexit.

Continue reading “The blueprint – clients and advisers scramble as the UK kicks off Brexit”