Our trilogy of virtual Brexit round table events
Brexit, Brexit, Brexit. Rarely out of the news since 2016. Until this year that is, when Covid has taken the spotlight. Of course, Brexit and its issues haven’t gone away. As we head to the end of the transitional period on 31 December, it’s back in the headlines with as the UK Government works to seal a trade deal with the EU.
So, where does this leave us now? As I write this blog (on the morning of 9 December), a deal looks unlikely as Boris Johnson heads to Brussels, supposedly to lay out the “political reality” of the UK’s position. By the time you read this, we could have a deal. Who knows.
This culminated in me chairing a trilogy of Brexit based round tables over the last 5 to 6 weeks. Rather than them all being about law, we were lucky enough to have the support of Hillier Hopkins and Cleveland Scott York, who provided us with financial, tax and intellectual property input. It wouldn’t be an EMW event without some law thrown in for good measure too.
"The challenge for many businesses, including my own, is knowing what we should be doing to get ready for 1 January 2021."
Difficult when we don’t know what the UK/EU trading landscape will look like. However, we thought that we should have a good go at giving our contacts and clients our best shot at painting the picture of what they should be concerned about.
The first round table saw Ruth Corkin, Director of Indirect Tax at Hillier Hopkins field questions on the key changes to the supply of goods and services to and from the UK to the EU, and how VAT will be affected.
Our very own Priya Magar, Associate in our employment team, was the star of the second round table, dealing with questions about how businesses should deal with UK workers who are sent to the EU, or EU workers working in the UK.
At the final round table, we had Andy Clemson, Associate at Cleveland Scott York, and Hans Schumann, Senior Associate in our commercial team, addressing the effect Brexit will have on business’ intellectual property rights, as well as looking at the effect of Brexit on contracts with EU partners.
As chair, a common theme of the questions was whether it’s too late, even now, to get ready for the changes that Brexit will bring. The resounding theme of the responses from our panellists was that it’s not. In fact, I was pleased to learn that the effect of Brexit on some aspects of business isn’t going to be as great as I personally feared. In many respects, much of the EU law we have grown accustomed to will continue to apply here in the UK and we’re not anticipating any immediate shift, at least in the short term. I’m a lawyer, so it would be remiss of me to say “crack on regardless, all will be fine” as this won’t necessarily be the case, but the outlook is certainly navigable. All of our panellists are there as sounding boards if you have any questions.
The downside of Covid (only the second time I’ve mentioned it in this blog!) is that we couldn’t physically host the round tables. Frankly, the interest was so great, that even in normal times, “sardines in a tin” would have come to mind and quite clearly, that is not a scenario we can entertain in the current Covid climate. It also sadly meant no bacon sandwiches or coffee, unless you brought your own! However, the plus side of doing the round tables on Zoom is that if you missed them, or wanted to recap on part of them, they’re recorded, and links to them are here:
Get in touch
If you want to pick up the conversation with any of our panellists, drop us a line at Events.firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll connect you.
Our next event
Finally, the consensus seems to be that it would be useful to get all of our panellists together for one last Q&A session early next year, where we can all quiz them on whether their predictions were right or not. More details will follow, but if we’ve already piqued your interest, let us know at Events.Emw@emwllp.com.