The European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill 2016-17 (the “Bill”) was passed by Parliament on 13 March 2017 and received royal assent on 16 March.

Prior to the Bill being passed through Parliament, the House of Lords had passed two amendments to the Bill that guaranteed the rights of EU nationals living in the UK and giving Parliament a “meaningful vote” on the final Brexit deal. However, both amendments were rejected by the House of Commons on 13 March and the House of Lords did not seek to make any further changes following that rejection. The Bill therefore passed unamended from the original version approved by the House of Commons.

The Prime Minister is now free to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, at which point negotiations relating to the UK’s exit from the European Union can commence. The Prime Minister has confirmed that Article 50 will be triggered prior to the end of March 2017, but reports suggest that it is unlikely to be prior to the week commencing 27 March (following celebrations for the Treaty of Rome next week).

The Scottish First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, also announced on 13 March that she will be seeking a second referendum on Scottish independence to give Scotland a choice between the Brexit deal and staying in the EU as an independent country. Mrs Sturgeon made it clear that she wants such a referendum to be held between Autumn 2018 and Spring 2019 after the terms of Brexit are known. However, the Prime Minster has since ruled out any such plans for a new Scottish independence referendum prior to Brexit occurring.

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In the blur of mega firms, Brown Rudnick stands out as a “global boutique” and has in place a multi-disciplinary, international Brexit Team. We are monitoring and analysing the consequences and considerations for businesses and are ready to advise on the potential legal implications of Brexit. The Brown Rudnick Brexit Team is available to advise on the issues across a broad range of sectors within our areas of expertise.

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BROWN RUDNICK LLP, an international law firm with offices in the United States and Europe, represents clients from around the world in high-stakes litigation, international arbitration and complex business transactions. Clients include public and private corporations, multinational Fortune 100 businesses and start-up enterprises. The Firm also represents investors, as well as official and ad hoc creditors’ committees in today’s largest corporate restructurings, both domestically and abroad. Founded more than 60 years ago, Brown Rudnick has over 240 lawyers providing advice and services across key areas of the law. Beyond the United States, the Firm regularly serves clients in Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America. With its Brown Rudnick Center for the Public Interest, the Firm has created an innovative model combining its pro bono, charitable giving and community volunteer efforts.

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