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).

The protection of EU-UK investment in the future partnership agreement (UPDATED 20 May 2020)   As anticipated in our Brexit Insight of late February 2020, this Insight provides an analysis of what we know so far about the EU and UK’s intentions for the protection of EU-UK investment in the future partnership agreement. This Insight was originally posted in April 2020, and has been updated in order to reflect the draft "negotiating document" published by the UK on 19 May 2020.  The Insight begins by setting out the legal framework applicable to the conclusion of international investment agreements by the EU and EU Member States.  It concludes that (1) it is highly likely that investment protection will be addressed in the future partnership agreement and not left to bilateral negotiations between the UK and individual EU Member States, and (2) investors who assumed, with the advent of Brexit, that they may be able to continue to rely on the UK’s existing intra-EU BITs, might begin to consider restructuring their investments. Read more »

European Commission launches infringement proceedings against the UK (14 May 2020)   The European Commission has launched infringement proceedings against the UK for its decision not to sign the multilateral treaty terminating intra-EU BITs (the Termination Treaty) (see our Brexit Insight of 5 May, and related Insights of August and November 2019) and for "fail[ing] to engage in any discussion with the Member States concerned to proceed with the bilateral termination of [its] intra-EU BITs". The Commission has sent the UK and Finland, who also chose not to sign the Termination Treaty, a letter of formal notice. The formal notice is the first step in the infringement process. According to the European Commission's announcement of the infringement proceedings, the letter urges the UK "to take all necessary actions to urgently remove the intra-EU BITs from [its] legal order, bearing in mind their incompatibility with Union law". The Commission's announcement notes that "under the Withdrawal Agreement, EU law continues to apply to the United Kingdom during the transition period". The UK has four months to respond to the formal notice. The Commission's announcement is available (half way down the page) here

EU Member States sign intra-EU BIT Termination Agreement – the UK will not be a party (5 May 2020)   On 5 May 2020, 23 EU Member States signed the much-anticipated Agreement for the Termination of Bilateral Investment Treaties between the Member States of the European Union. The Agreement, whose text is in most part the same as the draft text leaked in October 2019, terminates existing intra-EU BITs between the Contracting Parties and establishes "transitional measures" for "pending arbitration proceedings". The UK, and four EU Member States (Austria, Ireland, Finland and Sweden), have not signed the agreement. This Insight discusses the implications for investors currently reliant on the UK's twelve BITs with EU Member States. Read more »

Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on UK-EU negotiations (updated 6 April 2020)   The ongoing coronavirus crisis is unsurprisingly having a significant impact on the negotiations between the UK and the EU on their future relationship following the end of the transition period established in the Withdrawal Agreement.  The agreed timetable of formal negotiations has already been affected by the rapid escalation of the virus, as the second negotiating round, originally scheduled for 18-20 March 2020 in London, was postponed.  This Brexit Insight explains the current status of negotiations and identifies possible impacts of the crisis on the timetable for the negotiations on the future relationship as a whole. Read more »

EU and UK publish their negotiating priorities (25 and 27 February 2020)   On 25 February and 27 February , the EU and the UK published respectively their negotiating mandate and approach to negotiations for the future relationship between the two parties. The two documents give an insight into the priorities of each party. This Brexit Insight identifies some key areas where the two documents evidence potential sticking points in the negotiations on the future partnership agreement. In a forthcoming Brexit Insight, we will take a closer look about what the two documents tell us about the EU and UK’s intentions regarding the protection of EU-UK investment. Read more »

UK Investment Protection Policy Post-Brexit (25 February 2020)   On 25 February 2020, Laura Rees-Evans spoke at a BIICL conference on "UK Investment Protection Policy Post-Brexit", hosted by Steptoe & Johnson LLP. Further details of the event are available here. Read more »

The UK leaves the EU (31 January 2020)   At 23:00 GMT on 31 January 2020, the UK left the EU. The Withdrawal Agreement has entered into force and now governs the relationship between the UK and the EU. In a series of posts that will follow, we will examine what this new relationship means for the UK, EU, third countries, and businesses. The Withdrawal Agreement is available here

Signature of the Withdrawal Agreement (24 January 2020)   On 23 January 2020, the British Parliament passed the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act, paving the way for the UK's signature and ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement. The EU (Presidents of the European Council and the European Commission) and UK (Prime Minister Boris Johnson) signed the Withdrawal Agreement on 24 January 2020. Read more »

Brexit and international agreements: the Withdrawal Agreement and beyond (January 2020)   On 23 January 2020, Laura Rees-Evans delivered a presentation to the Public International Law Discussion Group of the University of Oxford on "Brexit and international agreements: the Withdrawal Agreement and beyond". Read more »

Spotlight on the UK Government presenting the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill to Parliament (19 December 2019)   The new UK Government has today presented to Parliament the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill or "WAB". The purpose of the WAB is to implement, and make other provision in connection with, the agreement between the UK and the EU under Article 50(2) of the Treaty on European Union (the "Withdrawal Agreement"). We explore further details of the WAB in this post. Read more »