On 30 March, the day after the 'triggering' of Article 50 began the official Brexit process, a group of University of Cambridge lawyers, economists, historians and tax experts gathered in Peterhouse.    

The one day workshop was run by the Centre For Business Research (CBR) and the Cambridge Public Policy Strategic Research Initiative. On the day, the CBR's Boni Sones sat down with some of the experts to get their take on the major issues facing Brexit Britain. You can listen to their conversations below:  

Prof Simon Deakin: Social policy post Brexit and workers’ rights

Simon Deakin is a Professor of Law and the Director of the Centre For Business Research. He specialises in labour law, private law, company law and EU law. His research is concerned, more generally, with the relationship between law and the social sciences.

To what extent we remain outside the Single Market is going to be a matter of degree. The current government’s decision for a deep and comprehensive trade agreement actually takes us back in to much of the single market, and we will be bound going forward to single market rules.”

Simon Deakin

Dr Kirsty Hughes: The right to remain of EU nationals

Kirsty Hughes is a University Lecturer in Law specialising in Human Rights and Public Law. She lectures on Civil Liberties, European Human Rights Law and Constitutional Law among other areas, and has a forthcoming book on Privacy Theory.

The suggestion that residency can be used in withdrawal negotiations does seem to be overstating matters given that residency is preserved under human rights law. It will be unlawful for us to expel EU nationals, and given therefore that it would be unlawful it seems particularly insensitive and unfair for EU nationals to be living in a state of uncertainty which is completely unnecessary.

Kirsty Hughes

You can read Dr Hughes's paper on the right to remain of EU nationals in full here. 

Dr Michael Waibel: The financial cost to the UK of leaving the EU

Michael Waibel is a University Lecturer and Deputy-Director of the Lauterpacht Centre for International Law. He researches economic law with a particular focus on finance and the settlement of international disputes.

The House of Lords’ assessment as a backdrop to these Brexit negotiations is that there is no legal liability. In purely legal terms I think the House of Lords has got it wrong. The UK is in principle liable for a share of the EU’s budget commitments that the UK made as a member of the EU.

Michael Waibel

You can read Dr Waibel's paper on the financial cost of leaving the EU in full here. 

Dr Lorand Bartels: The WTO option

Lorand Bartels is a Reader in International Law, and teaches international law, WTO law and EU law. He was appointed as a Specialist Adviser to the House of Commons Select Committee on International Trade at the end of last year.

I think legally nothing changes, in terms of the underlying rules and rights and obligations. At the moment the government’s position, and I think it is absolutely correct, is that the UK has existing rights and obligations in the WTO but you don’t see them at the moment because it is exercised via the EU.

Lorand Bartels

Dr Graham Gudgin: A critique of treasury estimates of the impact of Brexit

Graham Gudgin is currently Research Associate at Cambridge's Centre For Business Research and part-time Senior Economic Advisor with Oxford Economics. He has been a Special Adviser to the Northern Ireland First Minister on economic policy.

Over the past 15 years we have created about 3 million extra jobs in the UK, but that has been associated with a rise of about 85 per cent of people born from abroad, and a high proportion of these work on or at the minimum wage. That is not great for productivity...

Graham Gudgin

Prof David Howarth: The UK Constitution, the White Paper and the proposed Repeal Act

David Howarth is a Professor of Law and Public Policy in the Department of Land Economy. He served as the Member of Parliament for Cambridge between 2005 and 2010.

A lot of this process is far too short. Designing and drafting new law is not easy. It can’t be done by amateurs, it can’t be done by politicians on the hoof on the floor of the House of Commons. It needs to be thought through and there is just not enough time to think it through.

David Howarth

Dr Martin Steinfeld: The Free Movement of People and EU law

Martin Steinfeld is an Affiliated Lecturer in EU law. He was previously a barrister at the Chancery Bar and worked at both the European Parliament and the Court of Justice of the European Union.

There are many rights that EU citizens exercising their rights to free movement have had for many years. That is a matter for huge discussion on a domestic level in terms of what pieces of legislation may or may not flow to replicate the rights they already have.

Martin Steinfeld

Prof Catherine Barnard, Prof John Bell and Prof Brendan Simms: The White Paper; Brexit and Devolution; the Geopolitics of Brexit

  • Catherine Barnard is a Professor of European Union Law and Fellow of the UK in a Changing Europe programme.   
  • John Bell is a Professor of Law and Director of the Centre for Public Law.
  • Brendan Simms is Professor in the History of International Relations in the Department of Politics and International Studies.

The actual logistics of disentangling ourselves from the EU are incredibly large and it will take a considerable period of time – certainly more than the two years the government thinks it can be done in.

Catherine Barnard

Dr Julian Ghosh: Brexit and our tax laws

Julian Ghosh is a QC and Bye-Fellow at Peterhouse, Cambridge. His practice covers all areas of taxation. He is particularly well known for his corporate work and that involving European taxation issues.

[Business] could say you said we were subject to EU law previous to this date but this post two year date decision tells us what that law actually is, so see you in court. It is hopeless for the government and business.

Julian Ghosh

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