Welcome to our Brexit Insights page. Here we publish news and analysis by Fietta’s lawyers of developments arising out of the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union, as they relate to public international law. One of our senior associates, Laura Rees-Evans, has recently returned from a six-month secondment to the UK’s Foreign & Commonwealth Office, where she was advising on public international law issues arising out of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. If you wish to discuss any of the issues addressed in these insights, or otherwise seek any advice regarding public international law issues arising out of Brexit, please contact (+44(0)203 889 9801), (+ 44 (0)20 3889 9792), or (+44(0)203 889 9808).
Spotlight on the UK-Vietnam BIT in the context of Brexit (August 2019) The EU has negotiated two new trade and investment protection agreements with Vietnam (the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement and the EU-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (IPA)). The agreements were signed on 30 June 2019. At the time of writing, neither is yet in force. Like the EU-Singapore IPA (reported separately), the new EU-Vietnam IPA makes provision for the suspension or termination of certain existing bilateral investment treaties between EU Member States and Vietnam, as and when the IPA is provisionally applied or enters into force (respectively). In addition, it expressly terminates or suspends the sunset clauses in those treaties. As things stand, the provisional application or entry into force of the EU-Vietnam IPA while the UK remains an EU Member State, or during the transition period, could have complications for UK investors in Vietnam and vice versa. Read more »
Brexit and treaties – what will happen to the EU’s international agreements when the UK leaves the EU? Laura Rees-Evans gave an interview to LexisPSL on 15 August 2019 on the current status of the UK’s preparations for Brexit as regards the international agreements in which it participates by virtue of its membership of the EU, and the implications for UK legal practitioners. Laura explained that the Government is working to identify agreements that will no longer apply to the UK in a no-deal scenario and which need to be transitioned for exit day (in the case of bilateral treaties), or to which the UK will need to accede in its own right (in the case of multilateral treaties). She further explained that the Government is continuing its work to put in place arrangements with third countries to replicate the effects of the current agreements, where required, and that it has been publishing details of the status of its programme of replication on gov.uk. She sets out in her article the real-world impacts of this programme of work. The article is available in full here
Spotlight on intra-EU BITs in the context of Brexit (August 2019) On 6 March 2018, the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that investor-State dispute resolution provisions in bilateral investment treaties between EU Member States (intra-EU BITs) are incompatible with EU law (Slovak Republic v. Achmea BV). Buoyed by that decision, the European Commission intensified its dialogue with Member States with a view to ensuring their termination of all intra-EU BITs. In January 2019, EU Member States issued declarations in which they agreed to terminate all intra-EU BITs by 6 December 2019. On this issue as many others, Brexit has the potential to complicate matters as regards the UK’s participation in intra-EU BITs. Read more »
House of Lords Constitution Committee reports on parliamentary scrutiny of treaties (July 2019) In October 2018, the House of Lords Constitution Committee launched an inquiry into parliamentary scrutiny of treaties. That inquiry appears to have been particularly prompted by a perception that Parliament's scrutiny of treaties needs to be reviewed in the context of Brexit. We report briefly on the Constitution Committee's key findings, and on the Government's response. Read more »
Spotlight on the UK-Singapore BIT in the context of Brexit (July 2019) The EU has negotiated two new trade and investment protection agreements with Singapore (the EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement and the EU-Singapore Investment Protection Agreement (IPA)). The agreements were signed in October 2018 and received the consent of the European Parliament on 13 February 2019. At the time of writing, neither is yet in force. The new EU-Singapore IPA makes provision for the suspension or termination of certain existing bilateral investment treaties between EU Member States and Singapore, as and when the IPA is provisionally applied or enters into force (respectively). As things stand, the provisional application or entry into force of the EU-Singapore IPA while the UK remains an EU Member State, or during the transition period (under any final Withdrawal Agreement), could have complications for UK investors in Singapore and vice versa. Read more »
Update on international agreements post-Brexit In April 2019, Laura Rees-Evans gave a presentation on the status of the UK’s international agreements post-Brexit. The UK is a party to or enjoys the benefits of over 1000 international agreements with third countries and international organisations by virtue of its membership of the EU. Those agreements cover a range of subject matters, including air services, fisheries, insurance, nuclear cooperation, (political) association, mutual recognition, trade and land transport. The draft Withdrawal Agreement makes arrangements for the continuation of international agreements during the implementation period. To prepare for the end of the implementation period or a ‘no deal’ scenario, the UK Government has been working “to identify which international agreements need to be retained on exit, and to put in place arrangements with international partners to replicate the effects of the current agreements”. To view the presentation, please click here
Brexit implications for the dispute resolution and international trade lawyer Laura Rees-Evans gave an interview to LexisPSL on 26 October 2016 on the implications of Brexit for the dispute and international trade lawyer. Among other issues, Laura highlighted the benefits of Brexit in the context of the rising tide against intra-EU BITs, and, on the other hand, the uncertainty created by Brexit over the status of other treaties to which the UK is party via its membership of the EU. The article is available in full here