Brexit uncertainty not over following Johnson election win, City firms warn clients

updated on 16 December 2019

Boris Johnson’s landslide general election victory has in the words of the prime minister confirmed Brexit as the “unarguable decision of the British people”, but uncertainty for businesses remains due to questions left open about his withdrawal agreement, City firms have warned.

As the Law Gazette reports, Kingsley Napley senior associate Stacey Nevin warned of the potential family law impact Brexit could have on EU nationals: “For family law clients with EU connections who are considering divorce or who have children issues, [Brexit] could result in big changes either immediately on exit day, if we leave without a deal, or after the transition period if we leave with a deal.

“It seems more likely that we will leave with a deal in the form of Boris Johnson’s withdrawal agreement, or something similar, however this only kicks the problem of the uncertainty caused by Brexit on family law matters into the long grass until the end of the transition period, unless a reciprocal agreement is reached on family law issues in that time.”

Hogan Lovells partner Charles Brasted said Johnson’s withdrawal deal “leaves more questions than it provides answers,” meaning “the net result for business is that political risk will remain heightened in 2020. There has never been a greater need for businesses to engage in informing the policy choices that will shape the UK’s economic and political future, and their own business environment.”

Herbert Smith Freehills partner Clive Cunningham highlighted the risks Brexit poses to multijurisdictional transactions. “Relief could be short lived. If the transitional is only to the end of 2020, the race will be on to push this sector up the political agenda so that is covered by any UK/EU trade deal to enable cross-border business to flourish.”