As we have reported previously, the result of the European Union referendum (Brexit) was announced on 24 June 2016 with a vote in favour of the United Kingdom exiting.

We have issued a series of Brexit updates since the date of the referendum. To access such prior alerts, please visit our Brexit page.

UK Government Publishes White Paper Outlining its Future Relationship Plan with the EU

The UK government has published a White Paper detailing its plan for a future relationship between the UK and the EU, which British Prime Minister Theresa May has described as delivering “the Brexit people voted for”.

The White Paper follows the Prime Minister’s announcement on 6 July 2018 where she stated that the UK Cabinet had agreed a “collective” stance on the basis of a future deal with the EU. Following the announcement, a number of key Brexit officials resigned from their respective positions, including Brexit secretary David Davis who has been replaced by former housing minister Dominic Raab.

The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier responded to the publication of the White Paper by saying that the EU will assess whether the UK’s proposals are “realistic and workable”. The UK and the EU are seeking to finalise a Brexit transition deal by October 2018.

The nature of the UK’s future relationship with the EU will continue to be intensely scrutinised as the Brexit related Customs Bill (officially known as the Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Bill) and the Trade Bill are debated in the House of Commons this week. The UK government has accepted four amendments to the Customs Bill that were submitted by the European Research Group; a group of 62 Eurosceptic MPs. The amendments include prohibiting the UK from collecting certain taxes or duties for the EU unless member states do likewise, which will jeopardise the creation of a Facilitated Customs Arrangement as mentioned below.

Key Terms of the White Paper

Economic partnership

  • A common rulebook would be created for goods meaning that the UK would commit by treaty to ongoing harmonisation with relevant EU rules. With no tariffs on any goods, there would be no new frictions at the Northern Ireland border;
  • The UK would continue to participate in the European Chemicals Agency, the European Aviation Safety Agency and the European Medicines Agency. The UK would accept the rules of these agencies and contribute to their costs under new arrangements that recognise the UK as no longer being an EU member state;
  • A new Facilitated Customs Arrangement would be created that would remove the need for customs checks and controls between the UK and the EU as if they were a combined customs territory. This would enable the UK to control its own tariffs for trade with the rest of the world; and
  • New economic and regulatory arrangements for financial services would be arranged that would preserve the mutual benefits of integrated markets and protect financial stability. However, these arrangements would not replicate the EU’s passporting regimes.

Security partnership and other cooperation

  • The UK would continue to participate in key agencies, such as Europol and Eurojust to provide an effective and efficient way to share expertise and information with the EU; and
  • Personal data would be protected in order to ensure that the future relationship facilitates the continued free flow of data to support business activity and security collaboration.


  • The role of the European Court of Justice (“ECJ”) in the UK would come to an end. However, the UK recognises that the ECJ would remain the ultimate legal authority where a dispute arises as to whether EU rules have been interpreted correctly in connection with the common rulebook.

Freedom of movement

  • Any future mobility arrangements between the UK and the EU would be consistent with the ending of free movement.
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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.


Mark Dorff

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F: +44.20.7851.6100

Neil Micklethwaite

P: +44.20.7851.6086

F: +44.20.7851.6100