On 19 July, the hottest day of the year so far, the AG Financial Regulation team hosted its monthly Client Tea-Time Briefing on none other than the hottest topic of 2016: Brexit.

As the sun shone outside, heated discussion was generated in our offices from a panel of experts specialising in financial services regulation, dispute resolution, competition and employment, followed with some friendly mingling over drinks and snacks.

Rona Bar-Isaac, a Partner in Competition, introduced the event, speaking to where we are now- the political changes we have seen since the referendum and plans to invoke Article 50. The first court hearing for the legal challenge to the mechanism for invoking Article 50 had taken place earlier that day, so by then we at least had some certainty (in an area otherwise littered with uncertainties) that Article 50 won’t be triggered at least until the Supreme Court reaches its final decision on the matter (expected to be by the end of 2016).

Brian McDonnell, a Partner in Financial Regulation, kicked off the presentations with the question everybody is asking: so Brexit means Brexit- but what does Brexit mean? Brian took us through the various alternative models to EU membership and offered some insight into the political appetite for each model and the risks and opportunities each model presents, with a focus on the financial services sector.

Michael Barnett, Partner and Head of our Disputes Resolution Group, followed with some immediate Brexit considerations from a disputes and commercial contracts perspective. Michael also discussed future risks of litigating in a post-Brexit world, including the risk of “Italian Torpedo” delay tactics returning to the courts if the UK leaves the EU and accedes to the Lugano Convention.

Richard Yeomans, Employment Partner, finished up the presentations considering how a Brexit will impact on UK employment law and employment relations, and put forward the suggestion that in practice Brexit might not have such a profound influence on the UK workplace as might otherwise be expected.

The partner presentations were followed by a question and answer session during which some interesting points relating to the implications and uncertainties of Brexit were raised.

Whilst the briefing focussed on the implications of Brexit from the perspective of a few specific practice areas, the common message was the practical steps that businesses should be taking now- how they should be looking at the risks and opportunities presented by the alternative models to EU membership, considering the preferred option for their business, scenario and contingency planning, and lobbying.

For further information you can visit our Brexit Box or download our Brexit paper which consolidates our thoughts as a firm across various legal disciplines as to the sorts of legal issues our clients and their businesses might face on the UK leaving the EU.

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