By Kevin Rogers
Wilson Browne Solicitors
THE Law Society of England and Wales has warned that a no deal Brexit could very well create a large amount of litigation to sort out confusion over various legal rights that could, they say, gridlock the system.
Clearly lobbying to avoid no deal at all costs, the Law Society is worried that a no deal would tarnish the reputation of the courts of England and Wales. Many companies choose to use our courts to resolve disputes, and gridlock in the system would have an impact on the access to justice that all the court users in England and Wales enjoy. From my own point of view, after 20 years in the industry, the response time of the courts feels at an all-time low already, after many other pressures and cuts forced upon the system. As both legal advisor and Vice President of the Northamptonshire Chamber, I do have concerns for businesses that trade in and around our county on the back of this.
Law Society Vice President Christina Blacklaws argued: "We can expect a tremendous volume of litigation as companies challenge government and other agencies in the courts to obtain clarity on their legal rights.
"Companies operating in the UK and EU will also face the challenge of dual regulation, a burden which will fall hardest on small and medium-sized businesses."
Of course a real concern for businesses is not just which court could hear a dispute, but what law is used to determine that dispute. Different laws in different countries will see businesses struggle to make headway, and a no deal outcome will bring an end to a wide range of reciprocal arrangements, for example, in chemical and engineering regulations and data protection, let alone bringing obvious concerns for export and customs.
What can you do?
Ever since June 2015 Wilson Browne have been advocating that businesses can protect themselves as much as possible by reviewing their trading terms. Good use of robust alternate scenario clauses, that allow you to terminate, renegotiate, increase (decrease?) contract rates if X happens, or Y, plus sensibly clarifying (for example) that the law and jurisdiction of England and Wales applies will really improve your position. Where technical contractual requirements are measured against EU regulations how will these sit alongside future unwritten domestic ones? We cannot control the outcome of the Brexit talks, but you can give your business the best chance of being caught in the gridlock that the Law Society are worried about if the no deal comes to pass.
The Company Commercial & Commercial Litigation Teams (along with many others) at Wilson Browne Solicitors are nationally recognised by the Legal 500. Contact my Partner Andrew Kerr for Company Commercial advice at firstname.lastname@example.org or get in touch with me, Kevin Rogers, for any sort of business dispute resolution at email@example.com or call 01536 410014.