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Impact of the EU Referendum

Impact of the EU Referendum

June 23rd 2016 will no doubt be seen as a defining moment in time for the UK. The decision to leave the EU has inevitably caused an immediate economic shock around the world but with the decision now made the focus needs to turn to ensuring that businesses are given the best platform to understand the issues and maximise the opportunities that exit can bring.

What is the legal impact of the EU vote?

For the time being, very little. We expect the UK Government to serve notice to withdraw from the EU at some point in the near future. Prior to any exit, all European legislation will continue to be enforceable in the UK as it is now.

The extent to which our exit from the EU will impact on our legal position in the medium to long term remains to be seen as this depends on what terms we eventually agree with the EU for example whether we negotiate separate trade agreements (eg: Switzerland).

What areas are likely to be impacted?

The impact of our exit from the EU is potentially far ranging. Data protection, IP registration and exploitation, software licensing, cross border tax, immigration laws and litigation are just some of the legal areas that will be impacted. There is little point trying to second guess the impact on these or other areas in the absence of any real clarity. Once we know more, we will ensure you are updated.

How can we prepare?

Whilst our exit terms are negotiated, businesses need to remain vigilant and aware of developments. We recommend that businesses:

  • set up their own task force to monitor and keep track of developments and how they impact on business strategy; and
  • carry out a review of customer and supply contracts to understand potential areas of impact. Areas that could be impacted range from potential termination rights in contracts around material adverse events to force majeure provisions and currency risk fluctuations.

How can Ashfords assist?

Our role as professional advisers is to keep you informed and up to date as the EU exit story unfolds. With this in mind we will be:

  • providing regular webinars to businesses on developments going forward. Details of all webinars will be placed on our website www.ashfords.co.uk/webinar/;
  • holding regular round table discussions for businesses to discuss and learn about changes as they unfold; and
  • providing regular updates on changes as and when they occur.

In addition, to assist businesses going forward we have implemented a number of initiatives:

  • contract update and review service: enabling companies to deposit contracts with us for ongoing review. We will monitor contract terms and inform you of any changes which may impact on the contract and its enforceability;
  • information forum: our information extranet will allow clients full access to supporting information on the EU exit as and when it develops;
  • business review service: our business review team are able to assist you on or off site to look at your business strategy and how it may be impacted by legal developments;
  • our contract management offering Ruby Datum, provides an online secure platform to access and keep track of your contracts from any mobile or desktop device; and
  • our dedicated EU Exit Team are available to work with you and ensure that you have all the information you need to assist your business in maximising the benefit that EU exit can bring.

We strongly believe that there is little point in providing information that is built on speculation. Businesses need and require strong professional guidance on the issues and decisions as they unfold and Ashfords are ideally placed to provide this. We look forward to assisting businesses on addressing the issues that they will face over the next few years but equally adapting and recognising the opportunities that will also undoubtedly arise.

For information on any of the above, please email euexit@ashfords.co.uk.

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