The prospect of radical constitutional change was in the forefront of many lawyers’ minds as the Gazette went to press, with opinion polls showing a narrow but consistent majority for ‘leave’ in Thursday’s EU referendum.
In the event of a Brexit vote, the government is expected to open negotiations for a withdrawal under Article 50 of the Treaty of the European Union. The EU’s treaties would cease to apply after two years, unless there is a unanimous agreement to extend negotiations.
However, one senior figure in the Leave campaign, former lord chancellor Chris Grayling (pictured), said last week that moves to unpick EU law could begin in advance of a formal departure. These might include a European Union law (emergency provisions) bill to limit the powers of the European Court of Justice, he said.
The UK200 Group, which represents accountants and lawyers, predicted a ‘boom time’ in legal work as a result. ‘Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing, I’ll leave you to judge,’ said executive board member Peter Duff.
Meanwhile, in a rare example of a law firm announcing allegiance to either camp, partners at London intellectual property firm EIP said that they are supporting the Remain position.