What to do in a 'no-deal' Brexit - Guidance to the profession

27 November 2018

The representative body for barristers in England and Wales has issued guidance on what its members should do to prepare for a no-deal Brexit.


Whilst the likelihood of leaving without a deal receded with the EU's acceptance of the Withdrawal Agreement, securing Parliament's support is far from certain. A 'no-deal' Brexit remains therefore a 'genuine risk' as there would be no 'transition cushion.'

Even if the Prime Minister's plan is accepted by Parliament, barristers are reminded that the shape of any agreement on professional services is 'extremely uncertain'.

Those who specialise in traditional EU or international practice areas, such as competition, state aid, public procurement, migration, Intellectual Property, and insolvency are likely already to be well informed, according to the paper.

But the authors warn that no-deal could also impact those working in family, personal injury, and even criminal cases where any of the key individuals such as victims and witnesses are in an EU member state.

Even barristers working on cases with no cross-border element could be affected if they involve domestic law which is derived from the EU, such as consumer or environmental protection, employment, or health and safety.

The paper also warns that even though the intention of the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018 is to import EU law wholesale into UK law on Brexit day, such measures are subject to amendment, in many cases by statutory instrument.

'This legislative structure' say the authors, 'inevitably gives rise to widespread uncertainty as to the likely amendments and repeals that will be made in a no deal situation.'


Notes to Editors 

  1. Further information is available from the Bar Council Press Office on 020 7222 2525 and Press@BarCouncil.org.uk.

  2. 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