Britain votes to leave the EU – implications for your business

Published On 24/06/2016 | By Peta Stevenson | Enforcement, Litigation

Our London colleagues have been burning the midnight oil to consider the implications for your business of the 23 June Brexit vote.

As they note, it is important to remember that overnight, nothing has changed: EU law continues to apply, as do UK laws derived from the EU.

From a competition law perspective, in the short term the status will remain unchanged – at least as far as the legal parameters of doing business are concerned: EU law will continue to apply and UK law based on EU law will remain applicable.  This means that current cases before competition authorities, such as mergers or cartel investigations, and before courts, such as appeals of infringement decisions or claims for cartel damages, will continue, based on the laws and procedures applicable before the Brexit vote.  Even in the long-term, British companies trading with Continental Europe will in practice need to continue to comply with EU regulation to secure access to the market and comply with the EU’s laws on merger control and the EU cartel prohibition. However, with respect to mergers and cartels, following an exit from the EU, companies may face parallel merger control reviews and cartel investigations in both the EU (EC) and UK (CMA).

Only in the coming weeks and months will we begin to see the real ramifications of the vote.  Indeed, the government is not legally obliged to trigger Article 50 TFEU, beginning the exit proceedings, though it will be under intense political pressure to do so.  Much will depend on how quickly it attempts to repeal EU laws.

While a great deal remains unknown at this stage, companies should begin considering which pieces of legislation and regulation are valuable – or unhelpful – in the context of your business, and ensure you have adequate provisions in place to cope with any such measures falling away.  There will also be a role for the business community to play in helping to shape Britain’s future relationship with Europe.

King & Wood Mallesons has been studying the implications of Brexit over an extended period, working with clients, industry leaders, academics, heads of both the ‘in’ and ‘out’ campaigns, media influencers and others to offer a 360° view of the implications of Brexit for clients.  In their detailed alert, they outline some of the key initial considerations in the following areas:

  • competition and regulatory
  • dispute resolution
  • financial services
  • private equity
  • employment
  • real estate
  • energy

Read more here.

About The Author

is a partner in the Sydney office of King & Wood Mallesons where she specialises in competition litigation with experience in a wide range of jurisdictions. Peta also advises clients on the application of the anti-competitive conduct, consumer protection and access provisions of the Competition & Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) and related state legislation. In 2001/02 she undertook her LLM at the University of Cambridge, during which time she developed a passionate if fleeting interest in rowing.

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