There has been little immediate change in the legal environment since the UK voted to leave the European Union (Brexit) as the UK has to give notice of its intention to withdraw from the EU, which then starts a two year period in which the UK and the EU negotiate the terms of withdrawal.

The Prime Minister, Theresa May, has stated that Article 50 will be triggered before the end of March 2017 (which will start the two year period) and that the Government plans to introduce a Great Repeal Bill in the next Parliamentary session. On 17 January 2017, she set out the 12 principles that the Government will use to negotiate the UK's exit from the EU. On 02 February 2017, the Department for Exiting the European Union published a White Paper setting out the basis for these priorities and the approach to forging a new strategic partnership between the UK and the EU.The final agreement will be put to a vote in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

On 24 January 2017, the Supreme Court dismissed the Government's appeal in the Miller case and ruled that an Act of Parliament is required to authorise the Government to give notice under Article 50. You can read more on Breaking down Brexit: a blog.

As a result, on 26 January 2017, the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill 2017 was introduced to Parliament and had its first reading. The very short bill gives the Prime Minister the power to give notice under Article 50. The Bill has been approved by the House of Commons and went to the House of Lords on 08 February 2017. The general debate on the Bill took place on 20 and 21 February 2017. It will now move to the Committee stage (a line by line examination of the bill), which is scheduled to begin on 27 February 2017. The Government’s intention is that the Bill will receive Royal Assent and be enacted before the end of March.

The UK’s exit from the European Union does, however, raise crucial issues as to the potential legal consequences and impact on business activities in the UK.

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This document (and any information accessed through links in this document) is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from any action as a result of the contents of this document.