EU – Japan EPA presented to the European Council, ratification begins

The post below was first published on our PIL blog

On 18 April 2018 the European Commission (the “Commission“) presented the finalised text of the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (“EPA“) to the European Council and thereby took the first step in the EPA’s ratification process at the EU level.  Getting to this point took significant time and effort: the first of 18 rounds of negotiations began in early 2013, dozens of meetings were held within the EU itself, and the consolidated text was not finalised until (almost five years later in) December 2017.  While the time required to negotiate the text of the EPA is consistent with that taken by another recent EU agreement (the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (“CETA“) took a little over 5 years), both parties to the EPA appear keen to kick the ratification process into high gear.  If the parties’ plans come to fruition, the EPA will enter into force by 29 March 2019 and potentially will do so even before the formal conclusion of CETA, the text of which was finalised years earlier than that of the EPA.

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Filed under Public international law, Trade

SUPREME COURT TO CONSIDER LEGALITY OF DEVOLVED PARLIAMENTS’ BREXIT CONTINUITY LEGISLATION

The UK Government has referred two key pieces of Brexit legislation recently passed by the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly to the Supreme Court. The devolved parliaments’ bills seek to ensure the continuity of EU law and in doing so confer enhanced powers on the Scottish and Welsh governments post-Brexit. Following the referral, the UK and Welsh governments have reached a political compromise involving significant amendments to the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill (“EUWB“). Unless a compromise can be reached with the Scottish Government, the Supreme Court will rule on whether its legislation is within the Scottish parliament’s legislative competence.

The referral underscores heightened tensions between the UK and devolved governments over the demarcation of returned powers post-Brexit and the likelihood of future legal challenges and regulatory uncertainty in key devolved policy areas.

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The UK ratifies the Unified Patent Court Agreement on World IP Day

The post below was first published on our Intellectual Property blog

The UK has ratified the UPC Agreement today, 26 April 2018, which also happens to be World IP Day.

The UK IP Minister announced the ratification at a World IP Day event at the House of Commons this afternoon. It seems that the UK Government has listened to the many representative groups in the Patent arena who suggested that being part of the new system prior to Brexit was preferable to trying to join it post-Brexit.  Now we need to wait to see if the German constitutional challenges can be resolved before the end of March next year. Continue reading

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Filed under Consumer, Intellectual property, Pharma

DISPUTE RESOLUTION CLAUSES: PUTTING YOURSELF IN THE BEST POSITION

The post below was first published on our Litigation blog

All too often, dispute resolution clauses may be treated as part of the boilerplate: the usual wording thrown in, with perhaps little thought for the particular circumstances.

But the question of how a dispute will be resolved – whether by litigation or arbitration, where and under what law – may make all the difference to whether or not you will be able to enforce your rights under the contract. So it is important to think about these matters at the outset. Once a dispute has arisen, it will generally be too late.

In this tenth of our series of contract disputes practical guides, Adam Johnson QC, Alexander Oddy and Nick Peacock consider choice of law and jurisdiction/arbitration clauses, as well as clauses providing for mediation or other forms of ADR, and provide some practical tips on their use. You can click here to download the PDF guide.

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Filed under ADR, Contract, Disputes

BREXIT UPDATE – EEA (RE)INSURERS

The post below was first published on our Insurance blog

EEA insurers and reinsurers doing business in the UK under the insurance passport must prepare for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. We consider, in our latest “At a Glance” guide, the impact of Brexit on the cross-border activities of EEA (re)insurers, including how firms might respond to the European Council’s recent agreement to a transition period.

The “At a Glance” guide can be found here.

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Draft Statutory Instruments amending “retained EU Law” Starting to Appear

While the date for the passage of the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill is receding, as a messy political standoff on its terms takes place, the Government has published example draft Brexit Statutory Instruments planned to be passed under the Bill once enacted.  These are designed to adapt EU law which will be retained in UK law after Brexit to operate in the UK once it is no longer a member of the European Union.  This move to publish example legislation in draft in effect means that there is opportunity to comment on the approach being taken in the event that it raises concerns. Continue reading

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Filed under Great Repeal Bill

STATE AID DISCIPLINES TO CONTINUE TO APPLY IN THE UK POST-BREXIT

The UK Government, in a letter to the House of Lords EU committee published last week, has provided important clarifications in relation to the future UK State aid regime post-Brexit. The Government confirmed that it is planning to establish a full UK-wide subsidy control framework based on transposing the existing EU State aid rules, with a single independent UK body for enforcement and supervision, at the point that this is required (having regard to the negotiations). The Government has decided that the existing UK competition authority, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), would be best placed to take on this role.

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AUDIOVISUAL MEDIA SERVICES: BACK TO THE 80’S?!

On 19 March 2018, the European Commission published a notice to stakeholders on the consequences of Brexit for audiovisual media services. This makes it clear that, subject to any transitional arrangement, as of the withdrawal date, the EU rules in the field of audiovisual media services will no longer apply to the UK. Therefore, in summary, UK-based broadcasters would be left relying on laws written in the 1980s.

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Filed under TMT

PRA AND FCA CLARIFY IMPACT OF BREXIT TRANSITION FOR INSURANCE SECTOR

The post below was first published on our Insurance blog

Recent announcements made by the PRA and FCA clarify their approach to Brexit following the European Council’s agreement to a transition period for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. In particular, insurers, insurance intermediaries and other financial services firms have been encouraged to assume that they will continue to benefit from passporting rights until December 2020. Continue reading

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UK Government agrees elements of the European Commission’s proposals for post-Brexit protection of EU-wide IP rights in the UK in the latest draft of the Withdrawal Agreement

The post below was first published on our Intellectual Property blog

In the latest draft of the Withdrawal Agreement (19 March 2018) the UK Government and European Commission negotiators appear to have agreed text providing for the replacement of EU-wide IP rights having effect in the UK with equivalent UK rights at the end of the transition period post-Brexit (until 31 December 2020). Continue reading

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Filed under Article 50, Consumer, Intellectual property, Pharma, TMT, UK-EU negotiations