Brexit - EU Referendum Act 2015

The UK voted on 23 June 2016 to no longer remain a member of the European Union. There is widespread acceptance that both the UK and the remaining member states need some time to make plans for a negotiation and that Article 50 will not be triggered before spring 2017.  This suggests that the UK will leave the EU in 2019.


Following a Conservative victory at the General Election in May 2015, former Prime Minister, David Cameron, announced the Government would carry forward its manifesto promise and hold a referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU by the end of 2017.

Cameron made the promise to hold a referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU in a speech at Bloomberg in 2013, following a renegotiation of the terms of the UK’s membership. He was unable to legislate for the referendum in the last Parliament, due to opposition from junior coalition partners. Renegotiation began in earnest in June 2015, with the EU Referendum Bill first read in the House of Commons on 28 May 2015. The Bill was fast tracked through Parliament, with proper time allocated for it to complete all its stages by the end of 2015.

Following the completion of the UK’s renegotiations of its membership of the EU, Cameron announced in February 2016 that the Referendum would be held on 23 June 2016. The official Referendum campaign began on 15 April 2016 and on 23 June 2016 the UK voted to leave the EU.

State of play

Theresa May was appointed leader of the Conservative Party on 11 July 2016, following the resignation of the David Cameron and a brief internal selection process. May’s Government now faces the challenge of negotiating a ‘new’ relationship with the EU.

In response, the apparatus of Whitehall has undergone a significant change with the creation of the Department for Exiting the European Union and the Department for International Trade, which will be at the forefront of the Brexit negotiations.

Brexit Focus Group

Kennedys’ Brexit Focus Group, comprising specialist lawyers from our international offices and practice groups, is monitoring developments closely and is in regular contact with government and industry bodies, and leading insurers in each of our jurisdictions. Members of the Group are available to provide answers, recommendations, strategy and tactics on the specific legal and regulatory implications of Brexit for businesses and structures in the UK, Ireland and in Asia. You can access our Focus Group through your usual Kennedys' contact.

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