Post-Brexit Uncertainty May Yield Mixed Bag For UK Courts

June 24, 2016

The legal uncertainty created by the U.K.'s decision Thursday to leave the European Union reaches all the way to once ironclad litigation rules about forumshopping and enforcing English judgments across the bloc, and experts say the results could lead to mixed results for U.K. courts.

In a historic referendum, 52 percent of U.K. citizens voted to end the country's 43-year membership in the EU and its predecessors after a divisive campaign that focused on immigration and English sovereignty.

But over time, uncertainty about both substantive and procedural rules in the U.K. could lead companies to write contracts that allow them to take disputes to more stable jurisdictions, like Ireland or other EU forums, according to Dechert LLP partner Miriam Gonzalez.

"I think it's a no-brainer consequence of all of this," Gonzalez said. "I think that the instinct of clients would be if the legal framework here is uncertain and it is likely to be uncertain for a number of years, they'd be likely to refer to legal frameworks that are not uncertain."

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