Barristers publish non-partisan, fact-based report on European Union membership

17 June 2016

A full, fact-based analysis of the legal and constitutional implications of Britain either leaving the European Union or staying within it under the New Settlement has been published by the Bar Council, which represents barristers in England & Wales.  

The Bar Council's three-part report identifies a range of laws that will be affected by either outcome of the EU Referendum on 23 June.  

Chairman of the Bar, Chantal-Aimée Doerries QC, said: "There is a lot of political wrangling over the referendum on EU membership. This report, however, provides a neutral legal and constitutional analysis of the various options, whether that be Brexit, or whether we remain in the EU under the New Settlement. The law underpins so much in the UK, including finance, business, employment, as well as, our rights and justice, that the impact of the referendum on all these aspects of our economy, irrespective of the outcome, carries huge importance.  

"We keep hearing that the electorate want facts, not fiction, about Brexit. The Bar is well-placed to provide facts and this paper aims to provide a non-partisan view of the possible outcomes."  

The Bar Council paper covers three major aspects of reforming the UK's relationship with the EU, or withdrawing.  

Executive summary 

Paper I "New Settlement or Brexit? Key legal issues for the UK's post-referendum relationship with the EU". 

Paper II is entitled "Reform or withdrawal?  The legal impact on finance, business, work and free movement"

Paper III is entitled "Reform or withdrawal? Rights and justice".  

In addition, the report points to key areas of law which would be affected by withdrawal from the EU and require UK law makers to adapt or replace them. Consumer law, environmental laws, as well as employment and family laws are among those areas which would be affected. 

The Bar Council is also hosting a debate on the EU Referendum on 13 June at Lincoln's Inn with speakers from both sides of the debate:  

Case for remaining:

Dominic Grieve QC MP

Conservative Member of Parliament for Beaconsfield since 1997, Attorney General 2010-2014, barrister 

Joanna Cherry QC MP

Scottish National Party Member of Parliament for Edinburgh South West and Shadow SNP Westminster Group Leader (Justice and Home Affairs) since 2015, advocate. 

Case for leaving: 

Lord Howard of Lympne CH PC QC

Conservative peer, former Member of Parliament for Folkestone and Hythe 1983-2010 and Leader of the Conservative Party 2003-2005, barrister 

Martin Howe QC

Chairman of Lawyers for Britain: barrister


Notes to Editors  

Further information is available from the Bar Council Press Office on 020 7222 2525 and

The Bar Council represents barristers in England and Wales. It promotes:  

  • The Bar's high quality specialist advocacy and advisory services

  • Fair access to justice for all

  • The highest standards of ethics, equality and diversity across the profession, and

  • The development of business opportunities for barristers at home and abroad. 

The General Council of the Bar is the Approved Regulator of the Bar of England and Wales. It discharges its regulatory functions through the independent Bar Standards Board