Brexit

In one of the most significant decisions in the UK’s history, the vote to leave the European Union produces both opportunities and threats for many businesses, whether trading at home or abroad.

Article 50 has now been triggered, allowing the process of transferring out of the EU to begin, leaving many organisations unsure of the likely effects on their business model.

Here at Greenwoods GRM, we want to ensure dedicated support to clients during this transition.

Our Brexit team contains key individuals, with a wealth of experience, to guide you through the changes.

Specifically, Greenwoods GRM offers strategic advice on the legal issues related to Brexit including:

  • Brexit and your business
  • Brexit and your employees
  • Brexit and new regulations
  • Brexit and immigration
  • Brexit and disputes

Each of these areas is headed by a leading lawyer in their field, well informed about the Brexit process and how it affects organisations.

If you are unsure of where to start when considering the impact of Brexit, please get in touch with our Brexit lead David Woods. David is happy to discuss any concerns or issues you have. 

Our lead on regulatory aspects of Brexit, Kathryn Gilbertson, has a wealth of experience.

Kathryn says, “The future of regulatory law after Brexit still remains very much unknown. You can be reassured that the  Greenwoods GRM Regulatory team will be able to provide you with up to the minute information and the very best advice on how any changes may affect your business. ”

Here is a selection of possible Brexit regulatory issues we can support your organisation with:

Food Safety

  • We anticipate the current EU food safety legislation to be brought wholescale into UK law following Brexit.
  • Thereafter the devolved administrations may ‘cherry pick’ which areas of food safety law are to be repealed, amended or improved.
  • Border delays and additional controls would have a major impact on food safety for those importing/ exporting perishable products.
  • Supply chains will continue to need to be carefully monitored and audited

Health and Safety

  • If the Government’s focus post Brexit is to continue to remove ‘regulatory burdens’, then we could see the HSE replacing more Approved Codes of Practice and moving further towards a goal setting approach.

Environmental

  • REACH, RoHS, CLP – any exporter into the Single Market will have to continue to comply, so it is likely that these will remain.
  • Climate change – the UK is already implementing carbon reduction targets and emissions trading.  It is unlikely that these will change post Brexit.

For further advice contact Kathryn Gilbertson, who is happy to discuss any concerns or queries you may have.

As a business leader, you might find yourself asking, what now?

Our Brexit Team leader David Woods says, “I would advise against complacency, even at this stage in the process. While much is still unknown about the shape of EU negotiations as our Government decides on a firm plan, businesses need to be assessing how any changes could affect them and placing these thoughts into their business plans.”

Brexit and your Business:

  • Data Protection : there may be issues with moving data between the UK and EU countries
  • Competition Law : the block exemptions may not be available for UK companies agreements and arrangements
  • Inward Investment : will businesses in EU countries still be interested in investing in UK companies
  • Cross border trade: there might be barriers to trading with EU businesses
  • Contracts: make sure your long term contracts are Brexit-proofed

As you will have read, Greenwoods GRM has a dedicated Brexit team to ensure all areas of your business are covered, from employment and immigration worries, to trading and disputes issues. As the Greenwoods GRM Brexit team leader, if you are unsure of where to start, please get in touch for advice on how to proceed.

Rebecca Bridges is a leading immigration lawyer

Rebecca says, “I dedicate most of my time as a lawyer to assisting and supporting organisations with their employee immigration needs and concerns. I support a variety of clients in all aspects of UK business immigration, nationality and EU law. Many have asked for my assistance on what Brexit may mean for their workforce. Different strategies have been adopted depending on a variety of factors.In this ever-changing landscape it’s important to apply this knowledge strategically to support clients’ business objectives. With new immigration laws a certainty after Brexit, here are some of the key issues you may face:”

  • There is likely to be some compromise in respect of EEA nationals currently residing in the UK.  The extent of the compromise will be determined through Brexit negotiations. Further information can be found here.
  • Post-Brexit, free movement of EEA nationals may come to an end.  If so, EEA nationals (and their family members) will no longer have an automatic right to live and work in the UK.
  • British Citizens who currently live or work in an EEA country may have to return to the UK.
  • There will undoubtedly be increased regulation and focus on immigration by the UK Government.
  • With a potentially reduced talent pool regarding those who have the right to work in the UK, businesses may find it harder to find suitable candidates and so recruitment strategies may need to be re-examined.
  • International businesses may look to relocate to an EEA jurisdiction.

Rebecca is happy to hear from any businesses who are concerned about the immigration status of their current or future employees.

The potential effects of Brexit on disputes

Our Brexit Disputes lead Adele Whaley says, “Dispute resolution is likely to be directly affected by Brexit, although to what extent is still becoming clear. By using the Brexit team here at Greenwoods GRM, you can help minimise the impact on your organisation”

The potential effects of Brexit on Disputes:

  • Serving court documents out of the jurisdiction:  the current system allows us to issue court proceedings against an EU member state and serve them without the Court’s permission, which may change post-Brexit.
  • Commencement of proceedings:  the current system allows us to easily serve court proceedings issued in England against an EU member state. A new system may be more complicated, expensive and time consuming.
  • Governing law and jurisdiction: there could be changes to the way in which the English courts decide which law should be used to determine a dispute and also which country has jurisdiction to hear a claim.
  • Enforcement of Judgment: there is uncertainty about whether English Judgments will be recognised in other EU countries.
  • Parallel proceedings: changes made to the way in which both English and European courts deal with jurisdictional issues could result in parallel proceedings being issued.  This would result in an organisation having to defend claims in different countries, under different laws, at the same time
  • Small claims court:  at the present time there is a European small claims court which provides another way to try and recover money from a company located in another member state.  Following Brexit English companies may not have access to the European small claims court.

To gain advice and stay ahead of Brexit dispute changes contact Adele, who is happy to discuss any concerns or queries you may have.

HR and employment law could be drastically effected by Brexit.

Our Head of Employment and Employee Benefits John Macaulay says “In general terms, much of UK employment law has its roots in Europe so departure from the EU leaves it vulnerable to change. Therefore, the UK Government could take the opportunity to relax or amend existing EU-derived law.”

Issues could arise such as:

  • Seeking to lessen the impact of complex and expensive rules surrounding working time and the calculation of holiday pay
  • Clarifying the provisions which require equal pay for agency workers in certain circumstances
  • Considering whether to impose a cap on compensation for discrimination
  • Introducing flexibility to make changes to employees’ terms following a transfer of a business
  • Amending the threshold for collective consultation regarding the trigger number of proposed redundancies or the timeframe over which they must be contemplated

John and his excellent employment team is happy to advise you on any issues of concern regarding Brexit and employment. Please do get in touch.

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