Over the last year one story has dominated the headlines, Brexit! Be it a soft Brexit, a hard Brexit or a lovely cakey Brexit as now appears to be on the menu.
As the year draws to an end in a haze of Trump fuelled anxiety are we any the wiser on what will happen, when it will happen or what Brexit really means? In short, no.
Whilst Ms May initially outlined a target date of the end of March 2017 to trigger Article 50, leading to 2 years exit negotiations meaning we would have officially Brexited by summer 2019, a legal challenge may have put this timeline far from Ms May’s grasp. On 5 December 2016 the Supreme Court starting hearing the Government’s appeal following the recent High Court ruling that there must be parliamentary approval before Article 50 can be triggered. By the next issue of Connect a decision should have been reached and the future of Brexit more securely known.
Have our cake and eat it?
Even then, the question remains what type of Brexit. Thanks to a certain Tory aide it seems perhaps “they at Number 10” are still considering a “hard Brexit”, seemingly accepting the fact that we are unlikely to retain access to the single market and looking to proceed without a transitional period. A hard Brexit, may now be our only option, depending on the rest of Europe’s response to the use of the phrase “have our cake and eat it too” (although why else you would want cake I don’t know) being used to describe the model departure.
European Court of Justice
The notes that were leaked, be it inadvertently or deliberately, commented that the ECJ and control of borders “won’t fit”. Exactly what is meant by this phrase is unclear although it will no doubt be dissected to within an inch of its life. However, even if the European Court of Justice no longer fits and we are taken outside of its jurisdiction, what change will this really make? Whilst future ECJ cases and legislation would not bind us, the laws that already do would likely remain unchanged. Many employment rights including most anti-discrimination law is derived from European law and incorporated into our own.
Despite the uncertainty, it would seem unlikely the even after Brexit the Government would want to spend time untangling our own legislation to pick out any remnants of our European past. Furthermore, given that the rights incorporated are now so well established and considering the nature of the rights and protections offered it would be a brave Government that looked to remove them.
Hopefully by the next issue we will be able to update you as to the Supreme Court’s ruling. As always, should you require any advice or assistance please do not hesitate to get in touch. In the meantime, let them eat cake!