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.  In the lead up to the UK’s original departure date from the EU (March 2019), one of our senior associates, Laura Rees-Evans, spent six months at the UK’s Foreign & Commonwealth Office advising on public international law issues arising out of Brexit.  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-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (1 December 2020)   On 23 October 2020, the governments of the United Kingdom and Japan signed the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (UK-Japan CEPA). The UK-Japan CEPA is the first new free trade agreement that the UK Government has concluded since its departure from the EU. It is intended to replace the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EU-Japan EPA), which has governed the trading relationship between the EU and Japan since its entry into force on 1 February 2019. This Insight identifies some of the main areas of divergence between the UK-Japan CEPA and the EU-Japan EPA, and what the UK-Japan CEPA means for the protection of cross-border UK-Japan investment. Read more »


European Commission issues reasoned opinion to the UK for failing to terminate intra-EU BITs (30 October 2020)   As we reported on 14 May 2020, the European Commission is pursuing infringement proceedings against the UK for its decision not to sign the multilateral treaty terminating intra-EU BITs (the Termination Treaty). On 30 October 2020, it issued a reasoned opinion to the UK for failing "to effectively remove from its legal order" the intra-EU BITs to which it is a party. The Commission expressed "regret that the [UK] did not sign the plurilateral treaty" and that it has not engaged in discussions with the other contracting parties to its intra-EU BITs to terminate them bilaterally. The Commission called on the UK to take the necessary action within the next two months, failing which "the Commission may decide to refer the case to the Court of Justice of the European Union". The Commission's press release observes that the UK remains bound by Union law during the the transition period under the Withdrawal Agreement. The Commission's announcement is available here


Constitution Committee (UK House of Lords) issues report on the UK Internal Market Bill (16 October 2020)   The Constitution Committee of the UK House of Lords has issued a report on the United Kingdom Internal Market Bill. The Bill is currently under consideration by the House of Lords. The Constitution Committee is appointed by the House of Lords to "examine the constitutional implications of public bills coming before the House; and to keep under review the operation of the constitution and constitutional aspects of devolution." The report was issued as part of its inquiry considering the constitutional implications of the UK Internal Market Bill. The Committee observes that the UK Internal Market Bill is "of great constitutional significance" both for its implications for the devolution arrangements in the UK and for the rule of law. Pages 29-39 of the report consider the international law aspects of the Bill, while pages 43-49 examine rule of law implications of the Bill. The report is available here


Spotlight on the European Commission’s launch of infringement proceedings against the UK for the Internal Market Bill (1 October 2020)   The European Commission has launched an infringement procedure against the UK for its introduction of, and failure to withdraw, the UK Internal Market Bill. This Insight briefly explains the factual and procedural basis for the European Commission's action, and explores what might be the next steps in the process. Read more »


Spotlight on the UK Internal Market Bill (15 September 2020)   On 15 September 2020, LexisNexis republished Fietta LLP's "Spotlight on the UK Internal Market Bill" (first published on our Brexit Insights page on 11 September 2020) as part of its "public law analysis" service. The article is available in full here


Spotlight on the United Kingdom Internal Market Bill (11 September 2020)   On 9 September, the Government published the “United Kingdom Internal Market Bill”. Its purpose is to make provision for customs and trade rules between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, after the transition period established under the Withdrawal Agreement between the UK and EU comes to an end on 31 December 2020. The Government acknowledges that certain powers set out in the Bill “may be exercised in a way that is incompatible with provisions of the Withdrawal Agreement”. The EU has declared that, if adopted, the Bill would constitute an “extremely serious violation of the Withdrawal Agreement and of international law”. This spotlight looks in detail at the provisions of the Bill, the positions of both parties, and the mechanisms under the Withdrawal Agreement for resolving legal disputes between them. Read more »


Spotlight on UK Parliament committees seeking evidence on the UK’s trade negotiations (14 August 2020)   Two committees of the UK Parliament (one of the House of Lords, one of the House of Commons) are currently seeking evidence (views) on the UK's ongoing trade negotiations with Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and the US, as well as those with the EU. This spotlight identifies a number of questions they ask relating to investment protection, as well as the deadlines for submitting evidence. Read more »


Public International Law in the UK, post-Brexit (23 June 2020)   Laura Rees-Evans co-moderated a webinar on Public International Law in the UK, post-Brexit. Presented by a collection of “new voices” in PIL, the webinar explored a wide range of perspectives on the topic. A video recording of the webinar is available here


The UK has confirmed it will not extend the transition period (12 June 2020)   The UK's Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Michael Gove MP, has announced in a tweet that he has formally confirmed in a meeting of the UK-EU Joint Committee established under the Withdrawal Agreement that "the UK will not extend the transition period & the moment for extension has now passed." This confirms both the political commitments the Government has repeatedly made that it will not request an extension of the transition period, as well as the default legal position under the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (section 15A). The transition period will therefore end on 31 December 2020, and new rules on trade, travel and business for the UK and EU will take effect from 1 January 2021. The UK Government guidance on preparing for the end of the transition period is available here


UK House of Lords Constitution Committee issues report on constitutional issues raised by Brexit legislation (9 June 2020)   The House of Lords Constitution Committee has published a report reflecting on "the legislative challenges of delivering Brexit so far and look[ing] ahead to those to come." The report observes that, post-withdrawal from the EU, the UK's legislative challenge has continued in relation to the need to legislate for "new policies in areas previously within the competence of the EU [...] and new relationships and trade deals with international partners." It also observes that the transfer of EU law into UK law (as "retained EU Law") has "resulted in a new and complex legal landscape". The Committee argues, in particular, that a power contained within the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020 enabling ministers "to determine which courts may depart from CJEU case law and to give interpretive direction in relation to the meaning of retained EU law was—and remains—inappropriate". The full report is available here