Universiteit Leiden

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Research project

Global Brexit: the international ramifications of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU

Ending the United Kingdom’s (UK) forty-seven year European Union (EU) membership has fundamentally transformed its relationship with the EU. After years of tumultuous negotiations, international law now once again governs the UK’s relationship with the EU. This has resulted in a sophisticated body of ‘Post-Brexit Law’. This research project studies the international legal impact of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. This has two dimensions: ‘Post-Brexit Law’ between the UK and EU and a global reconfiguration of treaty relations.

Joris Larik
Fulbright-Schuman Programme
The Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study (NIAS)
Leiden Global Interactions

The legal body of ‘Post-Brexit Law’ that has been the result of years of turbulent negotiations, consist firstly of the Withdrawal Agreement – which contains the Northern Ireland Protocol/ Windsor Framework – and the Trade and Cooperation Agreement. It contains innovative features, such as the ‘level-playing field provisions’, which seek to safeguard fair competition between the EU and UK. It also holds gaps; for example those related to security and defence cooperation. This results in a complex institutional architecture, all of which are in need of analysis. Secondly, due to Brexit, hundreds of international agreements concluded by the EU with external partners no longer apply to the UK. However, the UK is now free to conclude international agreements on its own, from which it was barred before due to the EU’s exclusive competences. This concerns especially trade policy, for which Brexiteers have predicted a new ‘golden age’ of lucrative deals for the UK. Here, the project analyses the UK’s efforts to put in place replacements for the EU’s trade agreement and compares the EU’s and UK’s trade policies, which are now conducted in parallel and, to some extent, in competition with each other. This project then looks at the international legal impact of these developments.

Within the LUC’s global challenge of Peace and Justice, Sustainability and Prosperity this research project has so far generated up ten journal articles, five book chapters and ten appearances in national and international media. Read these academic publications here and find op-eds here. To date, the project has received funding from the Fulbright-Schuman Programme, the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study (NIAS) and Leiden Global Interactions.

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