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Withdrawal and CoVid-19 disruption.

Editorial Staff

The current stance of both the EU and the UK is that the UK's withdrawal from the EU will not be delayed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. But even the most optimistic must be aware that with governments both in disarray and fighting on all fronts to try to protect their citizens from the disease, the chances of meaningful work in the exit terms is remote.

And yet, with no constituencies to worry about, the EU's officials are pushing ahead with an ambitious legislative programme intending that such laws will be brought into effect before the UK departs and that the UK will, therefore be bound by them. And what will happen if the deadline is extended?

For the avoidance of doubt, even though the UK has formally withdrawn from the European Union in the so-called "Brexit" scheme, the UK remains bound by all EU law during the transition period. It is possible that, due to the severity of disruption brought about by the CoVid-19 pandemic that the business of negotiating the next stage of the withdrawal will have to be extended. For now, the working hypothesis is that the current date will remain and all businesses should work with that in mind.

If the withdrawal date is to be postponed businesses will have to ensure that they are aware of the status of laws that the EU passes after the expected date but before the actual date. The EU, despite the virus disruption is following a busy legislative programme which will, in any event, bind the UK for some years. This will include financial services regulation and possibly the next Money Laundering Directive - although in early 2020, an EU document suggested that in future money laundering risk and compliance should be moved from the Directive system to the system of Regulations which places considerable power in the hands of officials and removes power from the elected chambers.

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