On June 23, 2016, the UK voted to leave the European Union.  When the UK government decides to invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, it will trigger a two-year time limit for the UK to negotiate its withdrawal from the EU.  Brexit will require a fundamental restructuring of the trade and investment relationship between the UK and the rest of the EU.  It may affect not only the market access and regulatory position of UK firms within the EU and vice-versa, but also the activities of third-country firms, including US firms, doing business in the UK and the rest of the EU.

Our lawyers – based in London, Brussels, and the US – have extensive trans-Atlantic experience in in trade and investment agreements and policy, as well as in cross-border work in financial services, including insurance, tax, environment, competition, and international regulatory compliance, litigation, and arbitration.  That experience, and our presence in the capitals of the UK, the EU, and the US, enables us to provide practical strategic and tactical advice on the legal and regulatory implications of the Brexit vote.

The results of the referendum, the resulting turmoil in financial markets, uncertain timeline of the Brexit process, and questions around what the final agreement will look like, has created trepidation.  While a degree of risk will be inherent to the Brexit process as it moves forward, there will also be specific opportunities for companies – established in the EU or not – if they can develop a proactive commercial and regulatory strategy to deal with the UK’s announced departure.  While the final model that the UK might adopt with its relations with the EU is far from resolved, our lawyers in our Brussels office have unique experience with the Swiss-EU relations – a model which the UK may eventually follow.  Steptoe’s Swiss-EU team, recognized by the Legal 500, is one of the longest-standing observers of Swiss-EU relations in Brussels as these relations have evolved, with a particular focus on the bilateral agreements and institutional relations. 

We can guide clients to develop a deeper understanding of Brexit and its implications as it relates to their businesses, reduce the anxiety around this evolving process, and where possible, seize opportunities and competitive advantages.  As events move forward, we will provide sound advice to meet both basic and complex business challenges. 

For more information, please contact the following Steptoe professionals:

Darren Abrahams
+32 2 626 0500
Micah S. Green
+1 202 429 6290
Meredith Rathbone
+1 202 429 6437
Angus Rodger
+44 20 7367 8048