Brexit highlights—21 February 2020

Brexit highlights—21 February 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 21 February 2020.

General Brexit headlines

This section contains key overarching Brexit news headlines.

UK trade deal depends on governance, fish and level playing field, French minister says

A post-Brexit trade agreement can only be agreed alongside the three other key issues in the EU-UK relationship, namely governance, fisheries and the ‘level playing field’, France’s Minister of State for European Affairs has said.

See News Analysis: UK trade deal depends on governance, fish and level playing field, French minister says.

EU demand for level playing field ‘fails to see point’ of Brexit, Johnson adviser says

Any EU expectation that the UK will accept the bloc’s oversight of its laws and regulations to maintain a level playing field ‘simply fails to see the point’ of the UK leaving and how its sovereignty would be undermined, the UK Prime Minister’s Europe adviser, David Frost, has warned.

See News Analysis: EU demand for level playing field 'fails to see point' of Brexit, Johnson adviser says.

EU sub-committee launches inquiry into level playing field in UK-EU negotiations

The EU Internal Market Sub-Committee has launched an inquiry into the role of the level playing field in UK-EU negotiations. The inquiry follows a reiteration by the European Commission of the importance attached to ensuring a level playing field in numerous areas, including state aid and labour standards. The inquiry will take oral evidence on level playing field commitments and how they operate in EU free trade agreements, the EU’s approach to state aid rules, and the opportunities for the UK in formulating its own state aid policy. Following the collection of oral evidence from late February through March 2020, a letter addressed to the government is expected to be published by the sub-committee in April 2020.

See: LNB News 18/02/2020 9.

Government sets out plans for a new, points-based immigration system

The Home Office has released a policy statement outlining the government’s plans for a new UK points-based immigration system that will apply to both EU and non-EU citizens. The statement includes information relating to the scope of the points-based system, salary and skills thresholds for skilled workers and reducing the overall number of lower-skilled workers, among other things. According to the government, the new immigration system is to take effect from 1 January 2021, bringing an end to free movement.

See: LNB News 19/02/2020 84.

Impact of Brexit ‘observed carefully’ in WTO Trade Policy Review of the EU

The World Trade Organization (WTO) has concluded its fourteenth annual Trade Policy Review (TPR) of the EU—the first since the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. In the concluding remarks, the TPR Body Chair, Ambassador Manuel AJ Teehankee (Philippines), touched upon the EU being seen as a strong supporter of the rules-based multilateral trading system by its members, as well as its continued orientation toward the open market. WTO members also noted the advantageous trade partnerships with the EU to liberalise trade, including Free Trade Agreements and Economic Partnership Agreements.

See: LNB News 21/02/2020 30.

WTO delegations discuss how to prevent unreported and illegal fishing subsidies

Heads of World Trade Organization (WTO) delegations have discussed how best to develop a legal text to prevent subsidies for illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing at an informal meeting of the Negotiating Group on Rules. Ambassador Santiago Wills sought renewed support from the group’s members on this topic to be voiced at the 12th Ministerial Conference in June 2020 in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan. Based on the agenda set at the previously held ministerial conference, attendees are expected to confirm the intention to ban subsidies for IUU fishing. The Negotiating Group’s next meeting will be held during the week of 2 March 2020.

See: LNB News 17/02/2020 57.

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—drafts laid for sifting on 14 February 2020

Under the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (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 SI laid for sifting are outlined here. Subjects covered include regulation of international accounting standards, statutory auditors and third country auditors.

See News Analysis: Brexit SI Bulletin—drafts laid for sifting on 14 February 2020.

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

The Commons European Statutory Instruments Committee (ESIC) and the Lords Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee (SLSC) are responsible for the sifting process under the 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 February 2020. Since the general election on 12 December 2019, the SLSC has resumed routine scrutiny of secondary legislation, but the sifting process remains on pause.

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


FRC and BEIS publish information for auditors and accountants regarding standards during the Brexit transition period

The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) have published joint letters containing information on auditing, accounting and corporate reporting standards during the transition period following Brexit.

See: LNB News 13/02/2020 38.

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


UK organisations are eligible for EU LIFE funding in the 2020 Call

The UK government has announced that UK organisations can continue to apply to the EU LIFE funding 2020 Call, even if the duration of the project goes beyond the transition period. The programme is dedicated to co-fund environment, climate and governance and information projects. UK organisations submitting a project may be eligible for 55% or 75% of co-financing. The average budget varies between €3m and €5m for a period of three to five years. The next call is expected to be launched on 2 April 2020.

See: LNB News 13/02/2020 70.

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

Financial Services

IRSG says EU-UK financial services relationship needs autonomy and structured co-operation

The International Regulatory Strategy Group (IRSG) published a paper setting out the key principles that it believes should underpin the future economic partnership between the UK and EU from the perspective of financial services operating across the UK-EU border. It is based on the UK-EU Political Declaration and ‘assumes autonomy of decision making for both the UK and EU’. It also seeks to minimise the social and economic cost of disruption to capital flows supporting the real economy as a result of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. The IRSG says any future relationship should align closely with international standards to reduce fragmentation and support economic growth and investment in the UK and EU.

See: LNB News 13/02/2020 58.

Practitioners to be questioned on financial services after Brexit

On 26 February 2020, the EU Financial Affairs Sub-Committee is to hear evidence from UK financial services practitioners on the future of financial services after Brexit.

See: LNB News 20/02/2020 71.

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


The UK’s plans for a ‘points-based system’ from 1 January 2021

This analysis looks at the Home Office’s ‘policy statement’ issued on 19 February 2020, which sets out its main plans on the post-Brexit immigration system. The policy outlines the key features which will apply to both EU and non-EU citizens from 1 January 2021 (other than those EU citizens and family members who were resident in the UK before that date and therefore will fall within the EU Settlement Scheme).

See News Analysis: The UK’s plans for a ‘points-based system’ from 1 January 2021.

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

Life Sciences

UK to no longer act as a Reference Member State

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has updated the guidance on applying for a licence to market a medicine during the transition period. The new guidance has been amended to reflect the fact that the UK can no longer act as a Reference Member State for approval of marketing authorisations in decentralised and mutual recognition licensing procedures during the transition period.

See: LNB News 18/02/2020 52.

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

Private Client

EU Succession Regulation and Brexit

Michael Parkinson, Consultant at Payne Hicks Beach considers the impact of the UK’s departure from the EU on 31 January 2020 on the EU Succession Regulation and concludes that the latter remains as relevant as ever for individuals domiciled or living in the EU, as well as individuals with assets in the EU.

See News Analysis: EU Succession Regulation and Brexit.

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

Public Law

Court of Justice—updated practice directions published

Updated practice directions have been published in the Official Journal of the European Union. The practice directions were originally adopted in 2013 and since then there have been important technical and legislative developments—ie electronic methods of communication and amendments to the rules of procedure. The update to the practice direction takes into account the latest changes and enters into effect on 1 March 2020. The UK is subject to the continuing jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the European Union in accordance with the transitional arrangements under the Withdrawal Agreement.

See: LNB News 17/02/2020 11.

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:

● 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 forum for Brexit-related discussion, for users to discuss queries and sense check issues and solutions as they arise day-to-day.

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:

● The UK has left the building: In this article, Howard Fidderman looks at the implications of Brexit for UK workplaces beyond the end of 2020. See: Health and Safety Bulletin 486 HSB 22

● Brexit deters Japan legal giant from London switch: In this article, Jemma Slingo reports on Nishimura & Asahi’s decision to open an office in Frankfurt rather than London ‘influenced’ by fears that Brexit will stifle foreign investment in the UK. See: Law Society Gazette (2020) LS Gaz, 17 Feb, 6 (3)

● Feature on Health and Safety Law Post-Brexit: In this article, Andrea Oates highlights February’s Company’s Secretary Review exploring the impact of Brexit on health and safety law. See: Tolley's Practical Business Fortnightly For Companies 43 CSR 9, 132

What happens after the implementation or transition period of Brexit has ended will depend on any agreement negotiated with the EU

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.

Related Articles:
Latest Articles:
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.