• Brexit: United Kingdom Votes to Leave the EU
  • July 15, 2016 | Author: John Phillips
  • Law Firm: Jones Day - London Office
  • The UK referendum has voted 52 percent to 48 percent to leave the European Union. This is the first time in the history of the European Union that a Member State has voted to withdraw from the trading bloc. What happens next?

    The UK and the rest of Europe face a prolonged period of uncertainty. The referendum result is not binding on the UK Parliament, which still needs to decide whether, when and how to implement the decision. The contingency plans that financial institutions and other businesses have been making since the referendum was announced are now being revisited. Whatever lies ahead, the reality is that it will likely take at least two years to give effect to the UK's separation from the EU.

    The Treaty of Lisbon requires a Member State to give an Article 50 notification of the intention to exit. After notification, a withdrawal agreement will be negotiated between the EU and the UK. The treaties of the EU will only cease to be applicable to the UK from the date of the agreement or, failing that, two years after the notification or any later date that they agree. During the negotiation, therefore, the UK will continue to be a full member of the European Union. The third quarter of 2018 is likely to be the earliest that the UK would leave.

    A separation will require a wholesale review of UK legislation including in relation to financial regulation, employment, antitrust, data protection and intellectual property. This will extend to legislative powers that have been devolved to the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland assemblies. To complicate matters, separation will be against the will of the people of Scotland and Northern Ireland, who voted to remain.