Brexit: Impact on EU Laws, Regulation and Enforcement
A vast number of EU directives and laws are currently woven into the UK legal system. That will remain the position for some time, until Brexit negotiations are concluded, but what will then happen is down to Parliamentary decisions.
Here are examples of just some of the EU laws and rules that are currently in force:
- The ‘right to be forgotten’ – an EU court ruled that individuals have the right to demand that links are removed from Google search results if information is ‘inaccurate, inadequate, irrelevant or excessive’. When the UK is no longer part of the EU, Google will be able to apply to a UK court to seek a ruling to remove the ‘right to be forgotten’.
- Working time directive - under EU law it is illegal for an employee to be made to work an average of more than 48 hours a week, a directive for which the UK has ‘opted in’. The current view is that there is unlikely to be deregulation in this area, though there is no guarantee.
- Banking regulation – The Capital Requirements Directive IV is an EU legislative package covering prudential rules for banks, building societies and investment firms. The European Banking Authority specifies all reporting data required from firms and National Supervisory Authorities, which in the UK is via the Financial Conduct Authority. The implementation of this banking regulation has been costly to the UK, but once out of the EU it would seem improbable that the UK would reduce banking regulation, whilst still, to a certain extent, recovering from the 2008 crisis.
It has been reported that the Serious Fraud Office considered there would be no material impact of Brexit on their work of detection, investigation and prosecution of financial crime and bribery. Much of that work is reliant on EU cooperation amongst law enforcement agencies, but both the Police in the UK and the National Crime Agency have stated that they will continue to work closely with EU partners to ensure that law enforcement capability in the UK is not diminished. Director General of the National Crime Agency, Lynne Owens, stated:
“The NCA works with partners in over 150 countries because organised crime is not constrained by geographical or jurisdictional boundaries.
To tackle it effectively we must be able to cooperate closely and share intelligence in an agile way. If it cannot be met through EU mechanisms we will find others.
For now, ongoing operations against international crime threats continue as before. We will be working closely with government to understand what the implications of exit will be for us, and to plan the steps we need to take with our law enforcement partners to keep people in the UK safe.”
It appears for some that business will continue as usual, at least for the foreseeable. Of course, that is not to say that there will be any clear cut guidelines as to what may or may not remain part of the UK legal system, whether in whole or in part. But one thing is for sure, in this sea of uncertainty, changes are afoot.
Emmeline Coerkamp is a criminal litigation lawyer with experience of a range of white collar crime matters. She has expertise in defending criminal fraud prosecutions, particularly matters brought by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), as well as HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). She also has experience of confiscation proceedings.