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Laurence advises clients in regulated sectors, particularly FCA-authorised firms, charities, education sector bodies, sports industry companies and PLCs, on a range of commercial and compliance matters. These include sales and sourcing agreements, joint ventures and collaborative working, public procurement and state aid, funding agreements and constitutional arrangements, all of which are affected by constant regulatory updates.
He also advises on corporate finance matters such as capital raisings and public takeovers.
"Takes time to understand the client’s business." - Legal 500, 2013
Businesses should prepare for the unexpected now that the Supreme Court has set the government on course for a Brexit parliamentary vote. Although the Government seems confident they will be able to push ahead as planned, there could still be unexpected hurdles to overcome if the vote doesn’t go their way.
If the vote goes the Government’s way, with all to play for in the negotiations with Brussels, businesses and industry sectors should prioritise getting their voices heard. The financial and automotive sectors will be a priority for Theresa May’s administration; for others, now is the time to engage with ministers and civil servants. Individual companies will be making operational plans already but stakeholder engagement is also important and being aware of the priorities of shareholders, customers and employees will support future relationships.
Now that Theresa May has revealed her hand, businesses need to start preparing for a hard Brexit, without access to the EU single market. The Government’s stated intention is to negotiate a free trade agreement with the EU including a customs agreement, but there is no certainty of outcome and Mrs May recognised this, saying that no agreement with the EU would be preferable to a bad agreement.
Businesses therefore need to prepare themselves for tariffs on manufactured goods of all sorts and food products, the cost of which will either have to absorbed by companies or passed onto the consumer, with unpredictable results. Supply chains may face disruption, particularly in industries such as aerospace where EU-wide accreditation is important.
The financial services sector is also important to the UK economy and a hard Brexit is likely to mean that businesses in the sector will lose their passporting rights, although negotiating an equivalence deal for some types of business will be a priority for the Government. This area will be closely watched but we can expect banks and insurers to move some staff to EU financial centres, a trend which has already begun, and to set up subsidiary companies within the EU.
Businesses are already sailing through choppy and unchartered waters the uncertainty will continue while the settlement with the EU is negotiated, notwithstanding that certainty is Mrs May’s first principle for the negotiation. The practical advice is to stay flexible and have both short and long term plans to cover all eventualities.
“The announcement of a further legal challenge adds another layer of complexity to Brexit negotiations and is a further obstacle that must be overcome before Article 50 can be issued.
“The legal challenge could potentially change the nature of the parliamentary vote on Brexit, which could now have to include a vote on whether to stay in the EEA single market in addition to a vote on whether to leave the EU. However, this all depends on the success or failure of the Supreme Court appeal which will begin next week.
“The single market allows the tariff-free movement of goods, services, money and people within the EU and any potential decision would be critical for businesses up and down the UK. A ruling would help determine future investment decisions and would provide some much needed clarity against the current backdrop of confusion.
“Currently the only certainty is that the legal process around Brexit will directly affect the economy and we can expect controversy and heated political debate for the rest of the year and beyond.”
“It is good to see a real effort and drive to encourage further investment into the North of England. Our UK Powerhouse report, which we published earlier this year, highlighted the need for international investment in our infrastructure and found that the North is more reliant than the South East when it comes to generating future economic growth. It is an important part of the jigsaw for economic rebalancing and we certainly welcome this important development.”
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