Mon - Fri 09:00 - 18.00
Central Court 25 Southampton Buildings London WC2A 1AL
Tel: +44 020 7936 3637
DX 458 London Chancery Lane
Chambers provides an out of hours service. If you call Chambers main number you will be diverted to the clerk on call who will be able to deal with your enquiry.
Alkan Shenyuz is a barrister with Church Court Chambers specialising in international commercial law and in this article for Business Matters magazine he shares his thoughts on the possible implications of a vote to leave the European Union
On June 23rd, the British people will have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to decide whether to remain in the EU or to leave. Aside from the scare-mongering, the very real prospect of exiting a political and economic supra-organization of which Britain has been apart of since 1975 presents an unprecedented set of challenges. Given our long-standing relationship with the EU, it is no under-estimation to suggest that a withdrawal will affect almost every aspect of daily life in some way. Indeed, from the point of view of Brexit campaign, that is the purpose of leaving. British businesses, especially small and medium enterprises that depend on trade with EU countries are likely to be the first among many who will need to adapt to the new commercial realities of being outside the EU.
For some businesses, a withdrawal from the EU may lead to substantial costs and for others it may present a world of attractive growth opportunities. Which businesses find themselves greatly advantaged and which find themselves negatively affected very much depends on an array of inter-connecting factors. The legal landscape for SMEs after Brexit could be one further layer of complication but a certain degree of planning could help to alleviate some unnecessary pain.
Undeniably, the uncertainty arising immediately after the referendum and the subsequent negotiations with the EU which will allow for the UK to exit in an orderly manner are likely to create an unhelpful set of circumstances for many businesses. Under Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon, any member state exiting the union is expected to negotiate the terms of its exit with the EU or failing that, it will be automatically ejected two years after it gives notice and that is likely to be the date of the referendum itself. A lot will ride on the good grace of our former partners. In other words, the UK may find itself outside the EU, and the single market, rather more sharpish that it expects.
No doubt, financial markets, which as a matter of habit do not take well to uncertainty, will experience some degree of turbulence. Downward pressure on the pound and a slide in the stocks of those companies that rely heavily on trade with the EU are very credible scenarios. UK exporters to the Eurozone and beyond may actually find a weak pound to be good for business in the short term, but any immediate advantages may be offset in the longer term by the unfolding costs of the realities of a Brexit vote.
What would a UK withdrawal from the EU look like?
In the immediate aftermath of the referendum vote, the UK will most likely find itself in a position where it is negotiating three sets of issues in parallel: the terms of its actual exit from the EU, its access to the internal market and its trading relationship with countries outside the EU. Unless and until preferential access to the internal market is agreed with the EU, UK manufacturers would face banded tariffs when exporting to the EU and may, in turn, have to impose tariffs under WTO rules on imports from the EU. On this calculus alone, Britain would look far less competitive than it did when it was a member of the EU.
However, the likelihood is that the UK will want to try and negotiate a wholesale settlement with the EU based on three possible scenarios. Like Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway, the UK may seek to enter the European Economic Area (EEA). How, politically, this decision will come about remains to be seen since little has been discussed on the shape of the UK relationship with the EU after its withdrawal. Put simply, the EEA arrangement means implementing all EU regulations without any ability to negotiate them. Alternatively, the UK may prefer a network of bilateral agreements in an EFTA-style arrangement similar to that enjoyed by Switzerland. This could mean access to the internal market but would also require the UK to contribute to the budget of the EU, as Switzerland does. A third possibility is an arrangement similar to that between the EU and Canada which creates a free trade area between them. Nobody knows for certain how this would look but what is clear from the Canadian experience, is that this arrangement does not cover all areas of trade and could take years to negotiate. In the end, the ultimate settlement with the EU, assuming that the EU wants to trade with the UK as much as some claim, is likely to a bespoke arrangement and that may take some time to negotiate.
Living with EU regulations has become a way of life for the British people. In every area of society, from health and safety, to fighting crime, to consumer protection, EU regulation is embedded into UK law. Depending on how it is measured, EU law accounts for around 13% to 65% of all laws made since 1975. The figures are, of course, misleading in one sense in that it is virtually impossible to say whether the UK would not have implemented those laws if it were not for the EU and, importantly, some of those laws are ones initiated by the UK in the first place. In any case, it is this aspect of union membership which has driven the debate over sovereignty.
Although little has been mentioned about which laws and regulations should stay or go in a post-EU world, there is unlikely to be any sort of wholesale shake-up. EU laws which have been implemented under UK law do not automatically fall away if the UK exits the union for the simple reason that they have been enshrined into our own legislation. Instead, any change to UK law with the ostensible aim to eject any egregious EU rules is likely to be a very gradual process over many years. SMEs, therefore, which rely on or operate within a framework of EU regulations as part of their business should not fear any automatic change to those regulations. Nothing will happen overnight. In fact, depending on what Britain’s relationship ultimately looks like in the years after the referendum, it is quite likely that British SMEs may well find themselves in any event having to conform to EU regulations and directives in order to be able to go about their business with the EU. Exit from the EU does not mean that we do not have to conform to their rules if we want to export to them.
Much of how SMEs are affected, in terms of laws and regulation, will depend largely on whether they the business in question is products or services. Under the current arrangement of Britain’s membership, British SMEs are allowed to provide financial services to other member states by virtue of the “passporting” system, thereby militating against the need to open a local office. This has considerable advantages in terms of cost savings and means that businesses can prefer to employ a UK citizen rather than having to employ staff locally. Unless the UK is able to agree to maintain this arrangement under its new settlement, it is difficult to envisage how SMEs will be able to enjoy the same level of access to consumers of financial services in the EU.
There is speculation that a successful UK withdrawal from the EU may be the catalyst for the break up of the EU as a whole. Whatever the complications of the British experience, the withdrawal of any further member states, especially those in the Eurozone, may eventually make the UK appear like an attractive proposition for overseas investors. Of course, this remains to be seen, but in the end, UK withdrawal is likely to have a significant impact on the way SMEs, particularly those who do business with the EU, operate in the future and prudent planning together with legal advisers will be key to their prosperity.
Sports Stars and Unpaid Wages – Yasin Patel looks at the World of Professional Cricket and the growing problem of what can... more
On 2 July 2020 the National Crime Agency confirmed that it had dismantled “entire organised crime groups” through Operation... more
It is not just in the worlds of finance and commerce where the effects of the global Corona Virus pandemic are currently being... more
In January 2019, Yasin Patel and Amy Hazlewood wrote an Article on Unexplained Wealth Orders (UWO’s). This Article provides an... more
Following on from Yasin Patel and Amy Hazlewood’s article on Fraud under the furlough scheme, this article takes a closer... more
Church Court Chambers proudly presents our first Webinar, “Jury Really Want To Hurt Me?” – The Culture Club of Trial by... more
“In this short article Gregory Wedge of Chambers Crime and Regulatory Group analyses the recent Court of Appeal authority... more
Notwithstanding the seriousness of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and a global effort to fight the same, some individuals... more
Yasin Patel and Amy Hazlewood look at the potential criminal offences arising from the furlough scheme and what multi-national... more
Many businesses are wondering whether the Covid-19 Pandemic will allow a reduction or, alternatively, end their existing... more
In light of the unprecedented measures that the UK government has put in place to address the Coronavirus pandemic, George... more
Kerim Fuad QC, Head of Chambers, and Colin Witcher of Chambers Crime and Regulatory Group suggest three recent authorities to be... more
The “ Magnitsky Act” is a trailblazing piece of legislation enacted by the United States. Lesley Manley looks at developments... more
Cannabis, good drug or bad? The topic of debate internationally for decades by governments, medical professionals, recreational... more
Islam Khan discusses a recent Court Of Appeal case in an immigration matter shifting the test on proportionality on Human Rights... more
Islam Khan explores what the “BANGER” extension establishes and how it affects the current “Surinder... more
For even the most dyed in the wool Conservative voter, Conservative Central Headquarters’ decision to rename their twitter... more
Does your neighbour regularly park across your driveway? Have a dog that howls or barks incessantly? Have children that make... more
This weekend the Rugby World Cup Final between England and South Africa will be watched by billions around the globe. Inside... more
……“the consequences of the infringement of the procedural rules about contempt proceedings may be just as serious... more
R (on the application of Miller) (Appellant) v The Prime Minister (Respondent) Cherry and others (Respondents) v Advocate General... more
Over the past week, Lewis Power QC has been representing the Church Court International Law Team across the pond. Mr. Power QC... more
Lincoln’s Inn Barrister Still Missing Despite the Promises of Foreign Adviser Gowher Rizvi to Assist after Al Jazeera Head to... more
Yasin Patel and Amy Hazlewood look at one of the most important pieces of legislation passed in recent years. One that is looking... more
As October 31st 2019 draws nearer, Britain’s exit from the European Union and its exact terms become all the more important. ... more
The Corporate Manslaughter and Homicide Act 2007 (the Act), was designed to create a statutory offence, facilitating the... more
Yasin Patel and Amy Hazlewood look at the area of drill music and the law. This article is split into two parts: the first part... more
Yasin Patel looks at the question of “racism in football”. In this two part series, the first article outlines the arguments... more
In this article, written by Yasin Patel and Amy Hazlewood, we look at the areas of drugs, and in particular ‘county lines’... more
The British government and its agencies powers of investigation will increase significantly with a new piece of legislation.... more
Since the downfall of ISIS and the liberation of many Syrian people, women and children (and whole families) have been fleeing to... more
Tax Avoidance and Tax Evasion. What is the difference? One is illegal and one is smart tax planning. But which is which? Local... more
Yasin Patel and Amy Hazlewood explore the problems surrounding drones, from their use in humanitarian activities to drugs being... more
Yasin Patel looks at the growing area of ‘Image Rights’ and why it makes sense for a sports star to protect their ‘image... more
The case of Zamira Hajiyeva and the Unexplained Wealth Order “UWO” restrictions imposed upon her have brought to... more
New Law Journal publishes article by George Hepburne Scott regarding the recent ground breaking High Court case regarding prison... more
New Law Journal publishes an article by George Hepburne Scott regarding changes to the judiciary in Poland. George Hepburne Scott... more
‘Suck my d**k, you n****r, you n***o’ Offended by the title. And so you should be, but what are you going to do about it?... more
Please follow link below to read George Hepburne Scotts article on extradition published in the New Law Journal.... more
The Situation before the Human Rights Act In the traditional doctrine of statutory interpretation, the courts looked at the... more
The new Prime Minister Theresa May has announced a review of the Modern Slavery Act 2015; it is clear that corporate compliance... more
The Court of Appeal in the case of Griffiths 1 QB 589, made an apposite observation concerning a growing trend towards indicting... more
On 23 June 2016 over 33 million people voted in the EU referendum. Since that date there has been widespread anger from those who... more
Alkan Shenyuz is a barrister with Church Court Chambers specialising in international commercial law and in this article for... more
Leading legal publisher Westlaw has published Michael Polak’s article on INTERPOL notices. INTERPOL notices can severely... more
Alkan Shenyuz, a barrister and specialist in banking and financial services looks at the new EU Payment Services Directive and... more
In a clear sign that regulators want to open up competition in the UK banking industry to new banks, the Prudential Regulatory... more
In R (on the application of DC and The Secretary of State for Justice EWHC 33 (Admin) the High Court considered the law of... more
Whilst it would be naïve to suggest that ‘marriages of convenience’ do not occur, the Home Office seem to me to be using... more
Anthony assisted partners in Peters & Peters LLP in providing an expert summary of the laws and regulations which have been... more
Looted antiquities from Syria – what collectors need to know Alkan Shenyuz, barrister with Church Court Chambers discusses what... more
Modern Slavery Act 2015 The introduction of this consolidating act is to be welcomed. As with all recent changes to criminal... more
Alkan Shenyuz, a barrister with Church Court Chambers in London and a specialist in international law, summarises the key legal... more
The Government’s announcement in June that it is to bring forward legislation in Parliament to ratify the Hague Convention on... more
An interesting and insightful article from Lesley Manley of Church Court Chambers on mental impaired clients. It is often helpful... more