Brexit highlights—13 March 2020

Brexit highlights—13 March 2020

These Brexit highlights bring you a summary of the latest Brexit news and legislation updates from across a range of LexisNexis® practice areas, collated on 13 March 2020.

General Brexit headlines

This section contains key overarching Brexit news headlines.

Brexit Bulletin—EU reviews draft treaty text as coronavirus (COVID-19) halts talks on UK-EU future relationship

The UK and EU have confirmed that round two of the negotiations on the future UK-EU relationship will not go ahead in London next week as planned, due to the latest coronavirus (COVID-19) developments. The negotiating teams are looking at alternatives for continuing the talks remotely. Meanwhile, the European Commission has prepared a draft of its proposed future partnership agreement and shared it with the European Parliament and Council for discussion.

See: LNB News 13/03/2020 12.

Spring Budget 2020—Reforming UK regulation post-Brexit

The opener to the Budget 2020 acknowledged that it was the government's first Budget since the UK left the EU. To underline the point, Brexit was deliberately not mentioned, but there were a number of announcements of interest (and sensitivity) in connection with the future UK-EU relationship. In particular, the Treasury announced help for businesses and stakeholders to take advantages of opportunities outside the EU, promised a number of steps to ensure that the UK's financial services regulatory regime remains world-leading and launched a new 'Reforming Regulation Initiative', seeking input on how to 'improve' UK regulation post-Brexit, to ensure a 'sensible and proportionate' balance between 'supporting excellent business practice and protecting workers, consumers and the environment'.

See: LNB News 11/03/2020 92.

Brexit Bulletin—Future Relationship Committee quizzes Michael Gove on UK-EU negotiations

On 11 March 2020, the newly renamed Future Relationship with the EU Committee began its inquiry on the future UK-EU relationship negotiations by questioning Chancellor for the Duchy of Lancaster and Cabinet Office Minister, Michael Gove. The Minister confirmed reports that the UK and EU negotiators are working (separately) on draft treaty text to move the talks forward, but the extent and timing of publication of that text was not confirmed. Round 2 of the talks may be delayed due to the Coronavirus, but this would not impact the government's aim to review progress in June 2020 and stick to the December 2020 deadline for ending the transitional arrangements. Stakeholders should prepare for changes to take effect on 1 January 2021 whether there is a deal in place or not. The government promises to support this preparation but is not preparing a costs assessment. Nor will it be publishing an economic impact assessment of the proposed UK-EU FTA. Though the government has published an assessment for the UK-US FTA, it is taking a different approach for the future UK-EU relationship.

See: LNB News 11/03/2020 72.

Brexit Bulletin—EU Committee 'in no doubt as to the challenge ahead' in future relationship negotiations

On 5 March 2020, the European Union Committee (EUC) published the first report under section 29 of the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020 (EU(WA)A 2020), proposing a motion for debate on the Council Decision authorising the opening of negotiations on the future UK-EU relationship, raising matters of 'vital national interest' to the UK. The report highlights how far the UK and EU positions have diverged since the Political Declaration was agreed and calls for debate and detailed explanation from the government on certain aspects of the UK position.

See: LNB News 06/03/2020 60.

UK-EU trade talks break as conflicting positions draw slew of warnings from Barnier

There are ‘very serious divergences’ between the EU and UK on their future trade relationship, the bloc's chief Brexit negotiator said on 5 March 2020 as the first round of negotiations ended in Brussels. Michel Barnier also questioned the government's insistence that it won't extend the 11-month transition period, and highlighted its insistence on ‘a myriad of sectoral agreements’ instead of one overarching deal as a point of contention.

See News Analysis: UK-EU trade talks break as conflicting positions draw slew of warnings from Barnier.

UK reiterates international trade priorities ahead of UK-US FTA negotiations

With negotiations due to start this month, the Department for International Trade (DIT) has reiterated that securing a UK-US trade deal is a key government priority.

See: LNB News 10/03/2020 86.

World Trade Organisation members urged to shape future of multilateral rulemaking

The Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Roberto Azevedo, set out how its members can position themselves to deliver agreements on fisheries subsidies at the 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12) in Kazakhstan in June 2020. He urged members to discuss realistic targets and create a manageable agenda in advance, as they ‘would not have time to debate’ at the MC12. Delivering a manageable agenda would support the WTO’s credibility and position it to continue fostering predictability in the global economy.

See: LNB News 05/03/2020 17.

Alan Wolff seeks World Trade Organization multilateral trading system overhaul

The Deputy Director General, Alan Wolff, has called for more intensive engagement in the World Trade Organization (WTO)’s multilateral trading system, in an effort to consolidate its relevance. Wolff has highlighted that 80% of the world’s trade is non-discriminatory, and that despite the existence of several hundred bilateral and regional trade agreements, the WTO’s rules cover 98% of world trade. Wolff has advised that the system’s rules be updated to reflect developments in the world of digital commerce, guarantee gender equality, meet shared environmental objectives and guarantee the participation of small and medium enterprises in the trade process.

See: LNB News 05/03/2020 85.

Brexit legislation updates

This section contains Brexit news headlines relating to Brexit-related primary legislation and legislative preparation for Brexit generally.

Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill: Irish citizens

Sarah Henry, director of immigration at Granite Legal Services, discusses the provisions of the Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill in relation to Irish citizens.

See News Analysis: Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill: Irish citizens.

Brexit SIs and sifting updates

This section contains updates on the latest final and draft Brexit SIs laid in Parliament, plus updates on proposed negative Brexit SIs laid for sifting.

Draft Brexit SIs laid for sifting and sifting committee recommendations

Brexit SI Bulletin—latest drafts and sifting committee reports, 13 March 2020

The Commons European Statutory Instruments Committee (ESIC) and the Lords Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee (SLSC) are responsible for the sifting process under the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (EU(W)A 2018). These committees scrutinise proposed negative Brexit SIs and make recommendations on the appropriate parliamentary procedure before the instruments are laid in Parliament. This bulletin outlines the latest updates and recommendations, collated on 13 March 2020.

See News Analysis: Brexit SI Bulletin—latest drafts and sifting committee reports, 13 March 2020.

Brexit SI Bulletin—drafts laid for sifting on 10 March 2020

Under the EU(W)A 2018, before certain statutory instruments are formally laid in Parliament, they have to go through a preliminary sifting process to determine the appropriate parliamentary procedure. The latest draft Brexit SIs laid for sifting are outlined here. Subjects covered include regulation of harbours, docks, piers, ferries and highways.

See News Analysis: Brexit SI Bulletin—drafts laid for sifting on 10 March 2020.

Editor's picks—the practice area/sector view

This section contains key Brexit news hand-picked by LexisPSL lawyers from their own practice areas.

Banking and Finance

BoE speech on post-Brexit framework for prudential regulation

The Bank of England’s (BoE) executive director of prudential policy, Victoria Saporta, has given a speech setting out a framework for thinking about an ideal system of prudential regulation for the future based on an independent regulatory body with a clear mandate and strong accountability to Parliament.

See: LNB News 10/03/2020 82.

UK financial regulatory overhaul progress ‘imminent’, minister tells Parliament

The UK government will soon set out its next steps on an overhaul of the country’s financial regulatory architecture in light of its withdrawal from the EU. An update on the future regulatory framework, announced in June 2019 by former UK finance minister Philip Hammond, is now ‘imminent’, minister John Glen told lawmakers today.

For more information, see News Analysis: UK financial regulatory overhaul progress ‘imminent’, minister tells Parliament.

For further updates from Banking and Finance, see: Banking and Finance weekly highlights—overview.


An analysis of the effect of Brexit on the UK economy’s supply capacity

The Bank of England has shared its Monetary Policy Committee’s internal analysis of the effect of Brexit on the economy’s supply capacity. It believes that Brexit-related factors have contributed to some of the recent weakness in productivity growth, which has already been subdued since the 2008 financial crisis.

See: LNB News 06/03/2020 47.

For further updates from Commercial, see: Commercial weekly highlights—overview.


Environment Bill factsheets address governance, waste and resource efficiency

The government’s Environment Bill has been enhanced to include factsheets which focus on environmental governance as well as waste and resource efficiency. The ‘environmental governance’ factsheet focuses on long-term targets concerning air quality, water, waste and biodiversity, as well as the legal requirements these will entail. The ‘waste and resource efficiency’ factsheet focuses on unremitting recycling collections across England, aimed at reducing food waste and facilitating efficient recycling efforts.

See: LNB News 11/03/2020 21.

For further updates from Environment, see: Environment weekly highlights—overview.

Financial Services

Spring Budget 2020: Treasury consults on UK/Gibraltar financial services market access arrangements

HM Treasury has opened a consultation seeking views on the government’s proposals to introduce a new long-term legislative regime enabling market access for financial services firms based in Gibraltar. The government has already introduced temporary arrangements to protect access, which will be in place until permanent arrangements are delivered. The consultation will run until 11 May 2020.

See: LNB News 11/03/2020 91.

Decisions of EEA Joint Commission published in the Official Journal

Six decisions of the EEA Joint Committee dated 13 December 2019, amending Annex IX (Financial Services) to the EEA Agreement to incorporate financial services measures, were published in the Official Journal. The decisions cover (among others) level 2 measures under CSDR, MAR, AIFMD and IDD.

See: LNB News 05/03/2020 48.

For further updates from Financial Services, see: Financial Services weekly highlights—overview.


New statement of changes in Immigration Rules—HC 120

The government has issued a Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules HC 120, together with an Explanatory Memorandum (EM). The changes will come into force on 6 April 2020, subject to certain transitional provisions.

See: LNB News 12/03/2020 82.

For further updates from Immigration, see: Immigration monthly highlights—overview.

Life Sciences

Comments sought on the Medicines and Medical Devices Bill

The Public Bill Committee has announced that it is receiving comments on the Medicines and Medical Devices Bill which is currently passing through Parliament. Most of the legal framework for medicines and medical devices in the UK is derived from EU directives, implemented through the European Communities Act 1972 via secondary legislation. The Bill aims to deal with the regulatory gap at the end of the transition period through introducing ‘regulation-making, delegated powers covering the fields of human medicines, clinical trials of human medicines, veterinary medicines and medical devices’. The purpose of the Bill is to enable the existing regulatory frameworks to be updated at the end of the Transition Period. The deadline for comments is the end of the Committee stage, expected to be 5 pm on 23 April 2020, however as this date is not fixed it is advised that written evidence is submitted a soon as possible.

See: LNB News 05/03/2020 55.

For further updates from Life Sciences, see: Life Sciences weekly highlights—overview.

Local Government

Funding announced for vulnerable persons applying for EU Settlement Scheme

The Home Office has announced £8m in additional funding to support vulnerable EU citizens who are applying for the EU Settlement Scheme. Charities and local authorities will be able to bid for additional funding, with bidding process details to be announced shortly. The funding will allow the charities and local authorities to provide face-to-face, online and telephone support, including legal support, caseworker services or general advice.

See: LNB News 06/03/2020 18.

New Bill introduced to end EU free movement in the UK​

The Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill 2020, as introduced to Parliament, was published on 5 March 2020, together with various related Factsheets and Explanatory Notes.

See: LNB News 05/03/2020 82.

For further updates from Local Government, see: Local Government weekly highlights—overview.

Private Client

UK nationals in EU to be supported by £3m government fund

The government has allocated £3m to organisations and charities to assist UK nationals living in the EU in applying for residency permits. The funding will support those who find the application process difficult, with a focus on the disabled, pensioners and those with language issues.

See: LNB News 06/03/2020 53.

For further updates from Private Client, see: Private Client weekly highlights—overview.

Public Law

Single market at the core of new industrial strategy for Europe

The European Commission has published a communication identifying and addressing barriers to the Single Market. This is accompanied by a number of reports, including a long term action plan for better implementation and enforcement of single market rules.

See: LNB News 11/03/2020 41 and LNB News 10/03/2020 81.

For further updates from Public Law, see: Public Law weekly highlights—overview.

Brexit content and quick links

For further updates, this section contains quick links to popular trackers and practical guidance content on Brexit:

For further updates, this section contains quick links to popular trackers and practical guidance content on Brexit:

● Brexit Bulletin—key updates, research tips and resources—this Brexit Bulletin provides a quick reference Brexit research aid and updating tool. It answers key questions on Brexit and includes helpful Brexit updates, research tips and resources

● Brexit legislation tracker—this Practice Note tracks the progress of UK legislation introduced in connection with Brexit. It includes a Brexit SI database collating details of draft and enacted Brexit SIs, as well as draft Brexit SIs laid for sifting

● Brexit toolkit—for ease of reference, this toolkit collates practical guidance on the specific legal and practical implications of Brexit across a range of practice areas. The Brexit toolkit brings all of the core content together for ease of reference and also provides essential background information, trackers and analysis on the process of withdrawing from the EU and negotiating new trade relationships with the EU and third countries

LexTalk®Brexit: a Lexis®PSL community

Collaborate and network with a community of expert lawyers

LexTalk® is an online community forum which gives Lexis®PSL subscribers the opportunity to post questions, hold conversations, participate in discussions and share best practice. It has been designed to provide a secure place for legal professionals to discuss legal developments, offer and receive peer support, and gain a sense of up to date market practice and advances in real-time. You can access and post questions on all of the dedicated practice area forums, including a dedicated community for Lexis®PSL Brexit.

Click here to sign up and meet like-minded community members, create a profile, connect, share, and start participating today! Alternatively, you can access LexTalk® on the key resources tab on your Practice Area home page.

Useful information

Here is a sample of recent Brexit journal articles available subject to subscription:

● Post-Brexit Limitations to Government Surveillance—Does the UK Get a Free Hand? In this article, Irena Ilic traces, primarily through a constitutional lens, the Brexit effect on government surveillance. See: Communications Law (2020) 1 CL 31–36

● Feature: A new era for training: What the SQE means for law firms: In this article, Paula Moffatt and Matthew Homewood navigate the shifting solicitor qualification landscape, and in particular the place of the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) in a post-Brexit era. See: Law Society Gazette (2020) LS Gaz, 9 Mar, 20

● Plane sailing: In this article, Sam Brodsky examines the VAT treatment of private jets and yachts imported into the Isle of Man, appreciating that subject to any trade agreement with the EU, the UK could be in a position to set its own indirect tax policy. See: Taxation, 12 March 2020, 18

Please feel free to contact the Lexis®PSL team with your comments, queries or suggestions: Contact us.

We are also on Twitter—you can follow us: @LexisNexisUK.

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About the author:
Holly joined LexisNexis in July 2014 and works primarily on the PSL Public Law module. Holly read law at university and qualified as a solicitor in private practice. Before starting her legal career, she gained experience working in local government and spent a year studying politics. Prior to joining LexisNexis, Holly worked in the Global Technology and Sourcing team at BP, supporting a variety of global procurement and compliance projects. Upon joining LexisPSL, she worked in the Commercial and LexisAsk teams before assisting with the development and launch of the PSL Public Law module. Holly looks after a number of core public law subject areas, including Brexit.