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Can your commercial relationships survive Brexit?

View profile for Tim Field
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The time is uncompromisingly ticking and we are just over 100 days away from the official date when the UK is due to leave the EU. How many of you have sought to or are taking steps to protect your contractual position with your commercial counter-parts, trading partners, suppliers, outsourcing organisations or otherwise? Or is it just all too much and you have opted to bury your head in the sand for the time being?

We cannot but sympathise, however, if your commercial circumstances cry for active steps to be taken we would recommend that you start considering any potential impact Brexit could have on your business.

So what are the likely areas for concern? Firstly and most importantly, is your business likely to be affected in any way? If the answer is YES, or if you are not sure, then consider the following:

  • Profitability following any changes in exchange rates or the imposition of tariffs;
  • Ability to perform contractual obligations in the event of loss of freedom of movement of goods and services or otherwise;
  • The need for existing contracts post-Brexit;
  • Data transfer and data protection;
  • Future application of existing EU-derived law;
  • The status of contracts that are subject to English law and those that give the English courts exclusive or non-exclusive jurisdiction;
  • Ability to terminate existing contracts due to Brexit.

It is quite apparent that for present purposes there is no such thing as “clear Brexit terms” and, accordingly, no law firm will be able to provide bullet proof advice or protection to businesses against any adverse effect. However, it is not too late to consider and identify the areas within your commercial relationships and agreements that might require your attention to allow plenty of room for the relevant parties to come together and use their reasonable commercial endeavours to start renegotiating, where appropriate.

I am based at our Basildon office and can be reached on 01268 244141 or veronika.koenig-roach@birkettlong.co.uk

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