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What are the potential legal consequences of Brexit?

25 November 2016

The UK electorate’s vote to leave the European Union is an important decision. Brexit will lead to the biggest demerger in history: the world’s 5th largest economy (the UK) leaving the world’s largest economic grouping (the EU). At this point, it is difficult to predict how that exit will 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 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 has spent the last few months considering the legal consequences of Brexit for commercial parties and we held a client briefing call on Friday 24 June to highlight the key immediate issues that parties are likely to face and the steps that our clients may wish to consider taking in the next few weeks. A copy of the summary of this call is available here.

We have also analysed potential strategies for mitigating Brexit-related risk, both in the financial services sector and more widely. We will continue to monitor the progress of the negotiations between the UK and the rest of the EU and our teams of multi-disciplinary experts stand ready to advise our clients on the likely consequences for their businesses. If you have any queries in relation to Brexit and its possible implications for your business, please email our Brexit team at A&OBrexitqueries@allenovery.com or get in touch with your usual Allen & Overy contact.

Allen & Overy has published 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’s Global Law Intelligence Unit, led by Philip R Wood CBE, QC(Hon), has also 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 has in place a team of multi-disciplinary experts to advise on the potential legal implications of a Brexit. They are on hand to advise on the issues 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