Theresa May makes Brexit speech, the legal profession reacts

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General dissatisfaction from pro-Remain profession, but some see glimmers of hope


Lawyers have had a lot to say overnight about Theresa May’s revelation that the United Kingdom “cannot possibly” remain within the European single market.

Spectators have been keen to find out whether the government will push for internal market membership in its Brexit negotiations, and now the PM has spilled the beans. Though she promised to try to secure the “freest possible trade” with other European Union countries in a speech yesterday, she ultimately advocated for the UK to withdraw from the single market.


Cue lawyer reaction, the first wave of which came from the legal Twitterati.

The profession tends to be very pro-EU, so May’s insistence on a hard Brexit prompted some despair. Take University of East Anglia law lecturer Paul Bernal, who thought a facepalm was a particularly appropriate response:

While Northumbria University professor Chris Ashford put out this tweet:

Other less than complimentary reactions came from solicitor-advocate David Burrows, who described the PM’s talk as “nasty isolationist stuff”. Head of Durham Law School Thom Brooks suggested the government still has “no plan”, while barrister Matt Stanbury went for:

Some commenters, however, were at least pleased to have a vaguely clearer understanding of the government’s plan. Media lawyer and legal commentator David Allen Green tweeted:

Later on in the day, law firms began to issue their official reactions to May’s revelations.

Over at Bird & Bird, for example, senior associate Jonathan Goldsworthy urged businesses to “begin preparing” for Brexit. He said:

[C]ompanies with employees working in the UK on EU passports need to begin preparing for the fact that EU nationals will no longer have an unfettered right to live and work in the UK (and vice versa for British nationals abroad). Until the exact details of the government’s plan have been determined, these companies should give some thought to contingency plans, for example, conducting audits of who this might affect and seeking to crystallise employees’ rights of residency through permanent residency and/or citizenship applications.

Hogan Lovells partner Charles Brasted said “today was the day when the PM had to face up to the implications of what has already been said”. Brasted feels the EU is “likely” to view May’s desire for a bespoke deal as “precisely the cherry picking that [it has] warned against”. He also said:

Every one of the aspirations expressed by the UK Government today will demand exceptional political skill to negotiate and will be complex to implement legally and commercially. The objectives are now clear — the path towards them is uncharted.


The chairman of the bar, Andrew Langdon QC, offered a seemingly more positive line. He used May’s speech as a springboard to urge government to secure “the greatest possible market access for… the legal services sector”, a sentiment echoed by the Law Society in a report it published earlier this week on its Brexit fears. Langdon said the speech provided “some much needed clarity” on the government’s position, and said the Bar Council supports May’s “welcome reassurance that the UK will remain open to international talent”.

So, a mixed bag of reactions. Expect far more when the Supreme Court’s Brexit judgment is handed down, due next week.

Watch Theresa May’s speech in full below:

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The chorus of negativity from the usual shills is an indication that we are on the right track.


Dr Freud

Nurse, he’s off his meds again! Double his dose tonight please.



This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.


Dr Freud

An anti-Semite as well are we?

Very nice.



This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.


Well what do you expect – I’m every other type of bigot.


No, you’re just every type of idiot.


I tried to come up with a thoughtful, measured, considered and eloquent response….

But it was ultimately an exercise in total futility.

So, go and stick your steroidally-shrivelled manhood in some battery acid and fuck off while you’re doing it you massive fuckwad…



Ok… sorry ;-(

Your comment has made me reflect on myself – it’s time to change. Sorry everyone for being so insufferable. It’s because I’m woefully adequate in the underwear area, if you know what I mean. Any further comments will be positive, I promise!



Awww Trumpy, so candid, so honest…

But it is important that you fulfil your life and express yourself. Let the true and complete bulb form and thrive as it were. There’s room for all in this world including those with ‘guff in a lift’ personalities.

And nevertheless just fuck off anyway !



Gladly, my brother.


Really, you’re going to fuck off?


You must be listening to the Talking Heads. How’s it go?

Well we know where we’re going
But we don’t know where we’ve been
And we know what we’re knowing
But we can’t say what we’ve seen
And we’re not little children
And we know what we want
And the future is certain
Give us time to work it out



I’m so fed up of Brexit and people’s reactions to it (both for and against). Surely a solicitor tried to drunkenly kiss a vacation scheme student, or Amal Clooney has bought a new dress, or Lord Harley has revamped his LinkedIn profile, or something? Anything but more Brexit.



Haha I am loving the reaction from the remoaners! Such deluded fools, thought they could reverse the decision at first, then have another referendum, then get Parliament to vote against it, then have a ‘soft’ withdrawal.

Suck it up losers! You’ve been well and truly spanked.



I am a Bremainer and did none of those things. I graciously accepted and moved on with my life.



And yet you decided to make this post



And yet so did you…



And you’ve been well and truly lied to. Don’t hold your breath for the flood of trade details to flood in. China said to Switzerland you can give us complete access to your tiny economy whilst you wait to trade with us in 15 years…!



I voted to stay in the EU like, I would assume, the majority of LC readers. However, the UK voted to leave and we have to accept that.

If we have to leave, then Theresa May’s speech and direction of travel with Brexit is absolutely the right track. We cannot allow those who are unhappy with the vote to cripple the negotiation so we end up with a half-baked Brexit resulting in us still being controlled by the EU, with no power to affect how we are controlled. If we must leave the EU, we must leave it and then seek free trade deals with it. If the EU stops acting as a self-interested (in the sense of pursuing an European project-ideology in the face of pursuing European prosperity) bureaucratic machine then the most sensible, prosperous thing to do for Europe is to extend a free trade agreement with a Brexited-EU (and pursue an interim-agreement in the mean time) and reform its own institutions to stop it happening again. Not to punish the UK in order to scare other nations – treating members as naughty insolent children (as was the sentiment from Juncker and Tusk before and after the referendum towards the UK) will only make the EU write its own demise. Bureaucracy needs to stand aside for the masses who need and want practical shared prosperity – not to pursue a European project at whatever cost.



Can you stop being so bloody reasonable please… It is neither the time, nor the place!



well said


Just Anonymous

It’s time for people to stop whining that there is no plan, when what they really mean is that they don’t like the plan.

I also dislike the whining about ‘uncertainty.’ Yes, we’re not sure what exactly what’s going to happen, but that’s because things depend on the deal we strike with the EU. Theresa May can’t guarantee what they will grant us, and it is intellectually dishonest to pretend she can.


andrew battersby

How true. Before it was “We need certainty”. Now that they have it they still whine.
Sorry Remoaners, but the gravy train is coming to halt at last.


Not Amused

This ‘us and them’ stuff has to stop.

I voted leave. Admittedly in a furtive and nervous manner, several other members of chambers let me know they too had voted leave.

I voted as I did because my concerns over the Euro. Over the short to medium term future of several continental banks, and various other economic concerns. None of the things which concerned me made their way in to the debate. That itself is not sinister – elections are often fought at a basic level.

I have met and spoken to many intelligent and well informed people who voted Remain. They were not assisted by the media either.

What has to stop now is this very childish pretence that a very small number of die hard Remain voters are ‘right’ and everyone else is a moron and a racist. We were all trying to predict the future. To an extent we all failed. But the Remain arguments were only about the economic future and they were ALL wrong. The Treasury analysis was flawed (and the Treasury has admitted it was wrong). Every single negative prediction was based on this incorrect forecast.

It was a difficult decision. For me it was a sad one. I will always feel that the management of the EU messed the whole thing up. But it was a hard decision and we made it, together, and informed to the best of our ability. We need now to go forward together and we will and we do look as though we might actually have dodged a very big bullet.


Latte-sipping Londoner

You’re a moron and a racist. The Guardian told me so.



Satirical genius alert… :-/



Hard to believe you’re a barrister.

> I voted as I did because my concerns over the

The U.K. is not in the It had been approached before, about potential contributions to the U.K. to a bailout fund for Eurozone countries. That was rebuffed. The ECB wanted to move Euro-denominated securities clearing to a Eurozone financial centre (Frankfurt.). That was stopped.

> Over the short to medium term future of several continental banks, and various other economic concerns.

Monte dei Paschi di Siena and Deutsche Bank’s problems with liquidity does not affect the U.K..

> But the Remain arguments were only about the economic future and they were ALL wrong. The Treasury analysis was flawed (and the Treasury has admitted it was wrong). Every single negative prediction was based on this incorrect forecast.

Their analysis about a drop in the growth of the U.K.’s economy is correct in the long-term. They were correct about the selloff of the pound sterling in the short-term.

The financial market is not the real economy. Inputs/materials are getting more expensive due to the pound’s devaluation. Companies and suppliers now have to either increase the prices of the goods/services they provide, or face a reduced profit margin or possibly even a loss (Supermarkets have razor thin margins). As prices of basic goods and services increase, consumers will have to cut back on consumption, therefore dampening economic growth.

The ‘rise’ in the FTSE100 is due to the fact that the constituents of the index are mainly based out of the U.K.. Therefore, dollar-denominated profits flowing back to the U.K. (via dividends) will yield more £. A better indicator would be an index that covers medium-cap companies that primarily trade in the U.K..

> I will always feel that the management of the E.U. messed the whole thing up.


> we will and we do look as though we might actually have dodged a very big bullet.

Depends how favourable Trump will be to the U.K.. If the U.S.A. leans on the E.U. and exerts its influence, then the U.K. will do well out of the E.U..

I’m quite pleased with the outcome though. I didn’t bother to vote, but I’ve profited immensely, as my liabilities are in pounds, but my assets are in dollars. The equity markets in U.S.A. have also risen significantly as well. 20% since November. Life’s good.



Lol classic deluded remoaner still trying to argue that an economic Armageddon is coming, as if Project Fear doesn’t have one hell of an egg on its face.


andrew battersby

But they can’t be wrong because they have a doctorate in indoctrination



> I’m quite pleased with the outcome though. I didn’t bother to vote, but I’ve profited immensely, as my liabilities are in pounds, but my assets are in dollars. The equity markets in U.S.A. have also risen significantly as well. 20% since November. Life’s good.

Who said I was a remoaner?


andrew battersby

If the result would have been Remain, membership of the euro would have been inevitable eventually as Britain has dropped its opposition to further ‘closeness’ within the EU. Remainers do not seem to be able to think long term, but a remain vote would have been viewed by the Brussels elite as full steam ahead for full integration.



This is nonsense. The referendum was on the back of a (minor) renegotiation that would have seen the UK exempt from “ever closer union”. I think that’s more or less meaningless in the context, but it was there.

It’s also obvious, that to adopt the euro the UK would have required a referendum (transfer of powers, triggered by European Union Act 2011).



There’s nothing undemocratic about arguing about the outcome of a vote, and arguing to retain ones rights. Anyone suggesting otherwise is a dullard. No one would bat an eyelid on day one of a new government if some political group or another were campaigning against it. And no one is going to persuade us that Farage and Co were going to slink off with their tails between their legs if the referendum had gone the other way.

Please do stop trying to claim the moral high ground, you simply do not have it.

As to “yah boo, whatever happened to the economic meltdown!?”. The mistake you are making is believing that what was feared would happen on 24th June. I don’t think anyone ever predicted that. The meltdown will happen over an extended period – inward investment will go elsewhere, the promised “free trade” deals will fail to materialise, the UK’s output will generally decline.

The morons that really take the biscuit are those “businessmen” saying that they are now free to do deals with India or the USA. I’m not sure what was stopping them doing deals previously, but a certain Mr Trump sitting in the Whitehouse in a few days seems to be indicating that he’s more interested in a protectionist regime, than in promoting British imports. India has one of the most protected economies in the world, alongside China, only fools can believe this trio are somehow going to ride to the rescue of the UK economy.


(Primitive) Feminist

Brexit is a transphobic move to abolish female sexual organ transplantation. Also, it will defund UK arts degrees, which will hit particularly hard with working class families.



Why does NA say everything has to stop?



Yeah, it has to stop!



Has that Cunt Jolyon been approached for comment?



Oh, that was fantastic wasn’t it, essentially accusing the entire EU27 of being Nazis:

“If Monsieur Hollande wants to administer punishment beatings to anybody who chooses to escape, rather in the manner of some World War Two movie, then I don’t think that is the way forward.”

What an utterly moronic thing to say. And these are the people in charge of our future!?



What do you expect from that utter tit ? 🙁

How in the hell did he go from becoming a snide Eton ponce who mouthed off in The Telegraph and the Spectator in an oh-so-witty tatafilarious fashion to a fat tosser who says “Gosh” a lot and uses Latin inappropriately to London Mayor (which he was spectacularly shit at and renowned for his ineptitude – but, worse still, his staggering indolence), then ultimately to one of the most important Cabinet positions where he is bringing his own brand of gaffe-prone (yet still hiiiilarious) lack of instinct for the appropriate to bear in every way we dreaded he might ??

I mean how ??? You seriously couldn’t make this shit up. I feel like I’m living in some dystopian horror movie.

As for the yaysayers on the economy, have you seen what HSBC and UBS are now doing ? They’re just the first – this ain’t over yet, not by a long chalk. Time to wake the fuck up !!!



He speaks very highly of you.


Lando Calrissian



Lando Calrissian

I had the perfect opportunity to say Landos line and i fucked it up.

Fuckinder Singh.


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