‘May you live in interesting times’ is of course a Chinese curse, and the whole EU Brexit vote has created consternation, paranoia, uncertainty, political tension and most of all, head rolling. The question isn’t how did we get here, but more, what on earth are we going to do? Nicola Sturgeon vowed that Scotland would hold a second referendum, pressing for Scottish Independence (again). Northern Ireland voted remain without any real idea of what this now means, feeling further isolated from the UK. Confusion reigns.
So what does this mean for law firms and lawyers. Caution is the watch word. Caution about work levels; caution about free movement of people/goods; caution about who will cover EU funding; caution about EU inward investment. While Brexit was a shock, and while the short term is deeply uncertain, in the long term, we must reconfigure and regroup and be prepared for what is to come. In the long term caution is too limiting. Stifling. Post Brexit, there will be winners and losers.
The UK government faces pre-emptive legal action over the Brexit decision. Mishcon de Reya (MdR) are arguing that Article 50 cannot be triggered without a full debate and vote by parliament. There is (legal) conjecture whether the PM can invoke Article 50 without the approval of Parliament. MdR has been corresponding with the government since 27 June – watch this space!
In a democracy, we live with outcomes no matter how scary. The truth is that it doesn’t matter whether one person made a conscientious decision to vote after knowing all the facts, or whether another voted not knowing what they were voting for. There is no way to contest an irrational vote being cast. The public voted to leave the EU, so now we must adapt and thrive despite all the uncertainty.