„Brexit means brexit” 15
for constitutional amendment, in contrast to many other jurisdictions that make
special provision for it .
One of the major legal consequences of the Brexit will be the application of the
EU law. Since its foundation, there have been over 100,000 legislative instruments
adopted by the EU and these are all part of EU law. In the Brexit case, the EU’s
treaties would cease to apply if the UK were and they will be no longer relevant in
the UK courts or UK law.
The EU’s regulations are directly applicable automatically. They do not need
implementation into UK (or any Member State) 22 law so, they are easier to deal
with in the context of Brexit by than directives. Directives are the most difficult of
the sources of EU law. They need to be implemented into Member State law. So,
Member State law has to be amended to cope with the changes brought about by
the directives. This means that unlike treaties or, for the most part, regulations
which might simply be ignored after the UK has left the EU, the reality is that UK
law will have been amended to implement directives .
Withdrawal from the Union would involve the unravelling of a highly
complex skein of budgetary, legal, political, financial, commercial and personal
relationships, liabilities and obligations . Also the Brexit will have legal effects
rights given to EU citizens, such as: trading rights, free movement rights, social
rights, non-discrimination rights.
Scholars argued that over the longer term, disentangling the UK from the
substantial body of EU legislation which applies in the UK would be a massive
endeavor, which would take many years to complete .
Another important aspect of the UK is the so called devolved nations
(Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland). This is regarding the fact that from
perspective of the UK Government, the British Constitution is unitary in nature.
Foreign affairs are a reserved matter under Schedule 5 of the Scotland Act 1998,
and this includes EU membership. Devolved authorities have no legal rights in this
area, and, at most, may be consulted .
But even if these devolved authorities have not formal word to say in the
Brexit process, the EU law is incorporated directly into the devolution statutes in
Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. For example, section 29(2)(d) Scotland Act
1998 provides that Acts of the Scottish Parliament that are incompatible with EU
law or with European Court of Human Rights are not law. The same is for
provided in the Section 108(6) Government of Wales Act 2006 states that any act of
the Welsh Assembly incompatible with EU law or the European Court of Human
Rights, falls outside its competence. Section 24 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998
prohibits any legislation contrary to EU or European Court of Human Rights law.
General principles of EU law have been a very significant and growing feature
of the common law worldin both England and Wales as well as Ireland. Those
principles would not be part of the Brexited UK law and may not be addressed in
any withdrawal treaty. The British Courts have been influenced by concepts of EU