Brexit highlights—27 March 2020

Brexit highlights—27 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 27 March 2020.

Parliament has risen early for the Easter recess and is due to return on 21 April 2020. We plan to issue the next edition of the Brexit highlights once Parliament returns, but we will continue to keep you updated on key developments.

For guidance on keeping up to date, including details of how to access the latest Brexit news updates and analysis, plus instructions for setting up daily/weekly alerts via email and RSS, see: How do I sign up for Brexit alerts?

General Brexit headlines

This section contains key overarching Brexit news headlines.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) puts squeeze on UK to delay Brexit

Brexit appears likely to be delayed beyond the end of this year as the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic consumes officials’ attention and puts pressure on economies on both sides of the Channel. The crisis has put particular pressure on the UK government, whose top Brexit officials are tied up fighting the virus. If the UK reverses course and requests an extension, the EU won't refuse.

See News Analysis: Coronavirus (COVID-19) puts squeeze on UK to delay Brexit.

Brexit Bulletin—Provisional agenda for the first meeting of Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee

On 25 March 2020, Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove and European Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič—co-chairs of the EU-UK Joint Committee under the Withdrawal Agreement—confirmed plans for the first meeting of the Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee. The meeting will be held on 30 March 2020, via teleconference.

See: LNB News 26/03/2020 82 and LNB News 20/03/2020 60.

Comment—EU's unusually high bar over trade 'distortions' may give UK pause

The EU’s demands for the UK to enshrine a ‘level playing field’ in their future relationship goes beyond those seen in other recent trade deals, including a provision to prevent ‘distortions of trade and unfair competitive advantages’ that doesn’t appear in its agreements with partners such as Canada or Japan. At that price, the UK may decide to accept a lower level of access to the EU’s markets in exchange for more regulatory freedom.

See News Analysis: Comment—EU's unusually high bar over trade 'distortions' may give UK pause.

Brexit legislation updates

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

Trade Bill

The Trade Bill (a Bill to ‘make provision about the implementation of international trade agreements; to make provision establishing the Trade Remedies Authority and conferring functions on it; and to make provision about the collection and disclosure of information relating to trade’) was introduced and had its first reading in the House of Commons on 19 March 2020. It had its second reading in the House of Commons on 20 March 2020. This Bill replaces the previous version introduced in the 2017–2019 Parliament, which was not carried over when Parliament was prorogued ahead of the Queen’s Speech in October 2019.

To track this Bill, see: LNB News 20/03/2020 1.

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.

Made Brexit SIs laid in Parliament

European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020 (Commencement No 2) Regulations 2020

SI 2020/317: This enactment brings into force various provisions of the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020 (EU(WA)A 2020), which is the key piece of domestic legislation giving effect to international obligations contained in the Agreement on the withdrawal of the UK of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the EU and the European Atomic Energy Community (Withdrawal Agreement). It came into force partly on 19 March 2020 and fully on 23 March 2020.

See: LNB News 19/03/2020 38.

Railways (Interoperability) (Miscellaneous Amendments and Revocations) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020

SI 2020/318: This enactment is made in exercise of legislative powers under the Transport Act 2000 and the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (EU(W)A 2018) in preparation for IP completion day. This enactment amends five pieces of UK legislation and four pieces of retained EU legislation, and revokes 34 pieces of retained EU legislation, in relation to the railways in order to address failures of retained EU law to operate effectively and other deficiencies arising from the withdrawal of the UK from the EU. It comes into force partly on 10 April 2020 and immediately before IP completion day, and fully on IP completion day.

See: LNB News 20/03/2020 35.

International Accounting Standards, Statutory Auditors and Third Country Auditors (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020

SI 2020/335: This enactment is made in exercise of legislative powers under the EU(W)A 2018 in preparation for IP completion day. This enactment amends two pieces of UK secondary legislation in relation to International Accounting Standards, Statutory Auditors and Third Country Auditors to address failures of retained EU law to operate effectively arising from the withdrawal of the UK from the EU. It comes into force immediately before IP completion day.

See: LNB News 24/03/2020 48.

Taxes (Amendments) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020

SI 2020/332: This enactment is made in exercise of legislative powers under the Finance Act 2019 in preparation for IP completion day. This enactment amends two pieces of UK primary legislation in relation to income and tonnage taxes to maintain the effect of these provisions after the withdrawal of the UK from the EU. It comes into force on IP completion day.

See: LNB News 25/03/2020 9.

Draft Brexit SIs laid in Parliament

Over the Counter Derivatives, Central Counterparties and Trade Repositories (Amendment, etc, and Transitional Provision) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020

SI 2020/Draft: This draft enactment is laid in exercise of legislative powers under the EU(W)A 2018 in preparation for IP completion day. This draft enactment is proposed to amend UK primary legislation, 13 pieces of UK subordinate legislation and one piece of retained EU legislation in relation to over the counter derivatives, central counterparties and trade repositories in order to address failures of retained EU law to operate effectively and other deficiencies arising from the withdrawal of the UK from the EU. It comes into force partly on the day after the day on which these Regulations are made and fully on IP completion day.

See: LNB News 25/03/2020 10.

Draft Brexit SIs laid for sifting and sifting committee recommendations

Brexit SI Bulletin—latest drafts and sifting committee reports, 27 March 2020

Public Law analysis: 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 27 March 2020.

See News Analysis: Brexit SI Bulletin—latest drafts and sifting committee reports, 27 March 2020.

Editor's picks—the practice area/sector view

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

Financial Services

Comment: UK push for overseas funds equivalence looks like a post-Brexit pipe dream

The overseas funds regime just put forward by the British finance ministry gives a clearer idea of the equivalence mechanism the UK desperately would like to see from the EU—but it's not one it will likely get.

See News Analysis: Comment: UK push for overseas funds equivalence looks like a post-Brexit pipe dream.

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

Life Sciences

European Medicines Agency updates Brexit guidance for stakeholders

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has published a Notice and corresponding practical guidance for stakeholders. The Notice advises Marketing Authorisation Holders (MAHs), manufacturing authorisation holders and wholesalers to be prepared for any scenario, including the possibility of a deal not being agreed on before the end of the transition period. They are encouraged to take steps to account for a separate set of regulatory requirements, as well as import and export procedures. The guidance provides stakeholders with procedural and practical guidance relating to the submission of changes and fees and answers questions related to the transition period.

See: LNB News 23/03/2020 109.

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

Public Law

Parliament goes into recess early while arrangements are made for virtual participation in light of coronavirus (COVID-19)

Parliament has adjourned early for the Easter recess. Both Houses of Parliament rose at close of business on 25 March 2020 and will return on 21 April 2020. To ensure that parliamentary scrutiny is not unduly compromised by coronavirus (COVID-19), Select Committees are now allowed to work remotely and the Speaker of the House of Commons has confirmed that MPs and parliamentary staff will continue their work during recess while allowing government and officials to focus on responding to COVID-19 priorities. Work is being done to look at introducing necessary arrangements and licences for virtual participation in Parliament and select committee proceedings in light of social distancing measures. Similar arrangements have already been put in place in the European Parliament. Among others, both UK and EU chief negotiators David Frost and Michel Barnier are in isolation due to COVID-19, as is Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

See: LNB News 26/03/2020 4 and LNB News 26/03/2020 55.

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

 

Latest Q&As

● Could the Brexit transition period be extended due to coronavirus (COVID-19)?

● Will the VAT Directive still be relevant for UK taxpayers once the Brexit implementation period is over?

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.

*New*: a new LexTalk® community for legal practitioners to ask coronavirus questions has been launched. The current trending discussions are:

• Could the Brexit transition period be extended due to coronavirus (COVID-19)?

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 the Lexis®PSL home page.

Useful information

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

● Interview Shami Chakrabarti: Hostile environment: In this article, Shami Chakrabarti estimates that the target shifts to the Human Rights Act 1998 and even the European Convention on Human Rights to ‘keep feeding the more xenophobic Eurosceptic appetite’. See: Law Society Gazette (2020) LS Gaz, 23 Mar, 28

● Cases: In this article, Tolley and Lexis®PSL tax writers, underlying the relevance of EU jurisprudence in Esso Exploration & Production UK Ltd and others v HMRC [2020] UKFTT 139 (TC) (4 March), forecast that ‘there will be many years before all pre-Brexit issues will have worked their way through the appeals process’. See: Tax Journal, Issue 1481, 4

● Monthly law update: In this article, the guidance, issued by the Pensions Regulator, about the main areas on which it expects trustees to focus in preparation for the ending of the Brexit transition period is highlighted. See: Occupational Pensions 395 OP 14

● Consultation tracker: In this article, Paul Stainforth draws attention to the government’s consultation, closing on 20 May 2020, on the post-Brexit approach to VAT (and excise) treatment of goods carried across borders by passengers for their personal use. See: Tax Journal, Issue 1481, 20

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.