Arthur Cox is continuing to closely monitor Brexit developments, and to advise our clients in Ireland, the UK and further afield on the potential legal implications for their businesses. We are also mindful of the implications of Brexit for Northern Ireland and free movement of goods and people across the border. Together with our colleagues in our Belfast office, we have an all-island perspective on these issues.

Following months of negotiations between the EU’s negotiating team and the UK Government, a draft Agreement was published on 19 March 2018, albeit that the EU Council cautioned that “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed”. The draft Agreement provides that when the two-year negotiation period under Article 50 expires on 29 March 2019, a 21-month transitional period will begin under which the UK will continue to apply EU law until 31 December 2020 (i.e. the UK will remain a part of the single market and customs union until that date). Under the terms of the draft Agreement, the UK would not, however, be involved in the formulation of EU law from 29 March 2019 onwards, but would be consulted on certain matters.

However, the shape of the future trading relationship between the UK and the EU remains uncertain, in particular following the recent meeting of EU leaders in Salzburg. The Conservative Party Conference at the end of September 2018 may provide further clarity as to whether the UK can settle on a revised proposal to present to the EU, following the EU’s recent rejection of Theresa May’s Chequers plan. The EU instead favours either a Canada-style free trade agreement, or the UK seeking EEA membership. The impact of any agreement on the border with Northern Ireland remains a key point for both sides and whether the current impasse can be resolved will become clear at the next EU Council meeting in October 2018. If progress is made at that meeting, an extraordinary meeting of the EU Council is likely to take place in November 2018 to finalise the terms of a deal.

While the Deputy Governor of the Central Bank recently observed that Brexit will have “broad, fundamental impacts”, the Central Bank is taking a “pragmatic approach” while still recognising that a hard Brexit is a possibility. It continues to work with existing regulated Irish firms to ensure that they are planning for the impact of Brexit on their businesses, and continues to engage with firms that are moving their businesses to Ireland as a result of Brexit.

We will issue updates and relevant briefings as developments occur.

In the meantime, if you have any questions on Brexit, please get in touch with your usual Arthur Cox contact or any member of our Brexit team.

Our previous Brexit briefings provide further background on Brexit-related developments: