Geldards: Brexit – Business as usual?

It’s been almost a month now since the UK voted to leave the EU. However, the political turmoil that has followed has meant that we are no further forward in terms of knowing when the UK will give notice to the European Council of its intention to withdraw from the EU, how that will be achieved constitutionally or what the agreement for withdrawal will look like.

After over 40 years of EU membership, European laws touch upon many aspects of business life and operations in the UK. Unfortunately, until more detail is known about how Brexit will be achieved and managed, no-one can be certain about how legal rights and obligations derived from EU laws or linked to EU regulatory frameworks will be affected.

The impact upon the life sciences and healthcare sector largely depends upon what model the UK adopts for its relationship with the EU. If the UK remains in the European Economic Area (EEA), then the changes may be minimal. If the UK joins the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and negotiates sector specific access to the single market, then the landscape depends on the exact nature of that relationship. If the UK distances itself further from the EU, then the changes may be more extensive.

Ultimately, whatever the relationship is, the UK has a strong track record in the life sciences and healthcare sector with tax incentives, investment and funding, R&D and other key drivers high on its agenda. We would expect that to continue. The UK accounts for approximately 25% of the EU market and will remain a key market. Switzerland (which is not in the EU) is a prime example of how the sector can develop effectively outside of the EU.

In terms of specific key areas, the precise changes remain to be seen.

There are, however, certain things that we do know about how Brexit will impact on UK law. There are also certain steps that businesses can take now to manage the current climate of uncertainty and prepare ahead.

In this series of articles, we take a look at the current relationship between EU and UK law and the basic principles that will apply upon Brexit, whatever form that takes. We also provide examples of laws that will, in the absence of specific government action, remain in force post Brexit (as well as some of those that will not). Finally, we suggest certain actions that you could take now, both to assess the impact that Brexit may have on your business and protect your future position.

Please click on the links below for further information:

Owen Evans, Partner, 029 2039 1850
Andrew Evans, Partner, 029 2039 1761

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