Category: Brexit

Legal Services Provisions in the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement: Good but Incomplete

David Collins

As the UK continues to establish its own trade policy, it is vital that legal services, which provide more than £60 billion per year to the UK’s economy, are paid sufficient attention in trade negotiations. UK legal expertise is high demand around the world and the service of international clients is a key source of revenue for many UK lawyers. Lawyers rely on the possibility of short-term visits to foreign jurisdictions for the purposes of providing legal advice (sometimes described as fly-in fly-out, or FIFO) as well as temporary secondment/establishment rights in a jurisdiction. While there are many lucrative, fast-growing markets in Asia, the ability for lawyers to continue to provide advice in these ways in the EU is an issue of some importance. The Lawyer’s Establishment Directive ceased to apply to UK lawyers at the end of the transition period. Today UK lawyers seeking to provide legal advice in the EU must deal with 27 separate regulatory regimes.

Fortunately, the principle of home title practice was recognised in the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA), finalized at the end of last year. It should be pointed out that the inclusion of any material on legal services in a Free Trade Agreement is in itself a achievement since historically they have been ignored in international negotiations, with the Comprehensive Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the agreement in principle between the UK and Australia other notable exceptions. Under the home title principle, parties to the TCA agree to permit practice by lawyers of the other party under their home jurisdiction professional qualification with regards to advice on home country and public international law, as well as arbitration, conciliation and mediation. On their own these are already sizable areas of the legal services market for most UK lawyers serving clients in the EU.
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Jurisdiction and Arbitration Agreements in Contracts for the Carriage of Goods by Sea: Limitations on Party Autonomy

Dr Jonatan Echebarria Fernández

Jurisdiction and Arbitration Agreements in Contracts for the Carriage of Goods by Sea – Limitations on Party autonomy, published by Taylor & Francis (Informa Law from Routledge) in March 2021, is based on the PhD thesis I defended at the Copenhagen Business School (CBS) on 21 February 2019. The book focuses on party autonomy and its limitations in relation to jurisdiction and arbitration clauses included in contracts for the carriage of goods by sea in case of cargo claims.

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Legal Challenges Faced by Coastal and Fishing Communities, Brexit and the New British Fisheries Policy

Dr Jonatan Echebarria Fernández (City Law School), Dr Tafsir Matin Johansson (World Maritime University) and Mr Mitchell Lennan (University of Strathclyde)

On Tuesday 8 June 2021, eleven leading experts from academia, the fishing industry, and international organisations gathered at an online workshop to discuss the legal challenges presented by Brexit and fisheries. The workshop was organised as part of the City Law School Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF) funded project “Legal challenges faced by coastal and fishing communities and the new British Fisheries Policy”. The project is led by Dr Jonatan Echebarria Fernández of City Law School (Principal Investigator), Dr Tafsir Matin Johansson of World Maritime University (Senior Expert Consultant) and Mr Mitchell Lennan of the University of Strathclyde (Impact Assistant).

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The EU Perspective on Labour and Social Standards in the EU-UK TCA: Reality and Expectations

Tamara Hervey

This blog post provides an early analysis of the ‘non-regression’ provisions on Labour and Social Standards in the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA). After considering the ‘non-regression’ provisions in the context of the TCA as a whole, it contrasts the provisions with measures of EU law. It then turns to elaborate the content of the provisions. Finally, some aspects of their enforcement are discussed.

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Work in progress: The EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement as a “platform” for shaping future trade relationships

Giulio Kowalski

After four years of turbulent discussions and 1,400 pages of complex provisions, the EU and the UK (the “Parties”) signed the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) on 24 December 2020. Now that the much-feared risk of a no-deal Brexit seems to have been avoided, it could be high time to start digging into the details of the TCA and critically assess whether it is an effective and all-encompassing regulation or just a “platform” created in view of future negotiations and developments in the EU/UK (trading) relationships.

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Post-Brexit UK-EU Parliamentary Cooperation: Whose representation?

Isabella Mancini

The deal between the UK and the EU has not put an end to their talks. As negotiations will continue on a number of fronts, UK-EU parliamentary cooperation will be essential to ensure that citizens’ interests are taken into account. The EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) sets out that the European Parliament and the UK Parliament may establish a Parliamentary Partnership Assembly (PPA) that would provide a forum for exchanges of views. It is still unclear whether and when a PPA will be created. As the TCA suggests, its establishment appears to be voluntary and at the discretion of the legislatures from both sides. So far, the parliamentary dimension within the overarching governance of the TCA has remained at an embryonic stage, leaving many questions unanswered. Yet the PPA would not be the only channel for parliamentary cooperation and other formats could develop.

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The EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) as a building block of an ever-evolving relationship

Eva Pander Maat

The Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA), concluded on Christmas Eve 2020 between the EU and the UK, is a unique trade agreement in that its objective is divergence, instead of convergence. It represents the culmination, but by no means the end of four years of Brexit turmoil. To what extent such turmoil will continue to dominate EU-UK relations will partly depend on the extent to which Parties use the TCA as a floor or a ceiling.

To help comprehend the 1,400 page Agreement, five experts provided their guidance to the TCA in the Webinar ‘The UK & the EU Relationship: What Next?’ on January 27, 2021. This event was the first in a promising cooperation between the Jean Monnet Chair in EU Law, City, University of London and the Senior European Experts Group (SEE). The event was moderated by Sir Alan Dashwood, barrister and Professor Emeritus of European Law at University of Cambridge and Professor Emeritus of Law at City, University of London. This blog post revisits key points raised during the Webinar and summarizes its conclusions. Drawing on the expertise and experience of the experts, the blog post discusses five different aspects of the TCA: respectively, the legal aspects, trade and internal market regulation, agriculture and fisheries, the EU perspective and the political dimension.

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New UK- Singapore trade agreement could help shape global rules on digital trade

David Collins

The UK signed two more free trade agreements (FTAs) this past week, adding to the already impressive total of 57 and nearly £200 billion worth of trade that many sceptics had felt would be impossible once outside the EU’s protective sphere. By making further ground in Asia (after the success with Japan) the UK is in a strong position to help establish global rules in the vitally important sphere of digital trade, now one of the focal points of economic activity in many sectors.

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The Making of the UK Internal Market: a clumsy imitation of EU law?

Isabella Mancini

Despite the rhetoric to diverge from the EU, the UK Government recently proposed a controversial piece of legislation for the functioning of a UK “Internal Market”, parroting with this language what has typically been an EU construction.

Brexit means that the UK will have to manage its internal trade, without being subject to EU rules. The UK Internal Market Bill has been introduced to ensure the free flow of goods and services between England and the devolved nations (Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland). The Government fears that, once the UK will be untangled from EU law, there regulatory divergence will create barriers and costs for internal trade. Whether the Bill was necessary at all to achieve this aim is still hotly debated. The widespread opposition it received from the Lords, not to mention the legal action launched by the EU Commission, suggest that, in its current form, it was not.

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The International Dimension of Brexit

Legal debates about Brexit have mostly focused on the legal issues that arise under EU law and UK law and the impact of Brexit on the EU and UK. A recent book edited by Juan Santos Vara and Ramses A. Wessel analyses the international dimension of Brexit. The book examines the implications of Brexit for the external relations of both the EU and UK.

Researchers at City Law School – Professor Elaine Fahey, Professor Panos Koutrakos and Jed Odermatt – contributed chapters that examine some of the challenges arising from the UK’s departure from the European Union, with a focus on the international dimension.

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