The stage is now set for a 'No Deal' Brexit, with the UK government avoiding a doomed Parliamentary vote on the terms of the UK's withdrawal from the EU - and the opposition declining to bring a vote of no confidence in the government. A deferred vote on 14 January 2019 may also be withdrawn. As a result, the cabinet has committed a further £2bn in emergency spending on goods and services to prepare for Brexit on 29 March 2019.  

It does not seem to matter to either of the UK's main political parties that the UK can revoke its Article 50 notice at any time and remain a member of the EU, according to the judgment of the full European Court of Justice on 10 December.

This leaves just 3 months to prepare for Brexit day with no transition period. While you might hope for best (in terms of Brexit being halted, for example), from a business standpoint it is prudent to expect and prepare for the worst.

The UK government, the European Commission and each of the remaining 27 member states have issued their own notices that contain some detail about the implications of a No Deal Brexit for their businesses and citizens. The emergency preparations announced by the Commission today are extremely limited.

However, indications are that only a third of UK/EEA businesses who are likely to be impacted have made any preparations for a No Deal Brexit. This could include your suppliers (and their suppliers) and your customers, wherever they are based - particularly in the case of long supply chains. To try to minimise disruption, you should act now.

In October, we published a range of suggested courses of action you can take - although this is by no means exhaustive and you should take specific advice: 

  • contractual steps, including re-contracting via new EEA-based entities under Irish law, and working out when to terminate contracts with UK suppliers who can no longer supply their goods or services, either at the right price or at all;

Good luck with your preparations - and let us know if we can help!