The Law Society has renewed its warning about the potential problems of leaving the EU without an agreement on a future relationship in the wake of last night's House of Commons vote.
The decision by the House of Commons to reject the Brexit deal negotiated with the EU leaves three possible ways forward, the Society said. The prime minister could ask for Article 50 of the Treaty of European Union to be extended and then seek a new round of negotiations; deadlock in parliament could see the UK moving towards a new referendum or a general election; or the UK could leave on 29 March without a deal.
The Society urged politicians to avoid the no-deal scenario. 'We’ve been very clear from the outset that a no deal scenario would be extremely challenging for the UK legal profession, which is – after all – such a vital part of the UK economy and a facilitator of global Britain as a trading entity,' a spokesperson said. 'But it would also introduce opaqueness where previously there has been clarity – for example in relation to a whole range of rights enjoyed currently by our citizens.'
Resolution mechanisms available to EU citizens and entities will no longer apply if the UK leaves without a deal, the spokesperson pointed out. 'People travelling in the EU from Britain may need international driving licences, may no longer benefit from agreements abolishing roaming charges for mobile phones or face high costs for emergency medical help if they fall ill and lack the proper insurance. Life for individuals, for families and for business would get a whole lot more complex. That’s why we’re calling on politicians from across the divide to come together to work to avert a national crisis.'
Guidance on Brexit and the legal sector is available on the Law Society's website.