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Brexit: what next?


17


fl ash points, there has been less focus on the outlook for day-to-day regulation post-Brexit. Estimates vary, but currently anything up to


30-40% of business regulation is derived from European regulations. Whatever one’s view on the referendum result, the opportunity for the UK to review EU regulations, and consider to what extent EU regulations will and should remain relevant to the UK after it leaves the EU, is a positive one.


It is entirely legitimate to ask


what becomes of the entirety of EU regulations after Brexit. The answer may disappoint those who anticipated an immediate bonfi re of unnecessary red tape. In the short term, the likelihood is that there


will be no change to the body of regulations. On the day on which the UK leaves the EU, the UK will remain subject to the regulations to which it is currently subject as a member of the EU. Only after the transfer of existing regulation has been achieved, will the government be able to consider substantive changes. In taking this approach, the government


is partly responding pragmatically to an insurmountable challenge, but it is also responding to calls from the business community for legal certainty, stability and predictability. It understands that simply repealing all EU-derived law when we leave would create huge legal black holes that would benefi t few in the short term. While not the entire story there is some


As David Davis, Secretary of State for


Brexit, stated to a committee of MPs, he had not asked his civil servants to estimate the cost of obtaining “no deal”, an option the UK government insists is better than a bad deal. Both reveal a signifi cant weakness in the UK’s negotiating position, and heighten the possibility of “no deal”, especially in the light of the advantages of delay enjoyed by the EU. Because of the focus on the UK’s trading relationships after Brexit and other potential


truth, as a wag put it, that the UK government is going to work incredibly hard to achieve absolutely nothing. In other words, day one after Brexit will, in regulatory terms, be the same as the day before. To achieve this, the government will “lift and shift” existing EU legislation and transfer it over into UK law. If it works, and there is no reason why it shouldn’t, there will be a seamless transition. The approach is being generally welcomed


by the UK business community as the best way to ensure continuity. The legislative method of achieving this is by the “Great Repeal Bill”. This Bill has not yet been published so we don’t currently know its detail, but we do know that


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