It is easy to forget, amongst all the jostling for what the final commercial Brexit position is, the mammoth (some might argue mechanical) task of amending and putting in place new legislation to give effect to that position.
This is an unprecedented complex task at hand, and one that needs to be taken into account as part of the planning: a “big bang” new legal framework is far too problematic, and therefore the sequencing is also of phenomenal importance.
It is estimated that over 50,000 laws have been introduced in the UK as a result of EU legislation. By way of note, Switzerland and Norway still have to implement many EU laws, despite not being member states, due to the nature of their trade agreements with the EU.
Whereas some of these are specific to a particular area, e.g. finance or employment, many are also more general and pervasive in nature, meaning that the timing of when they are altered as needed, is also critical, or effecting a complex amendment to them that phases the change they make across the different areas. The interconnectivity is staggering.
Equally, not all legislation is equal – one needs to consider the hierarchical interaction between treaties, regulations and directives, Commission decisions and the Court of Justice of the European Union case law, and their interrelation.The timed effect of changes to the legislation is important – for instance, with a need for both existing law to continue, be amended, or only apply in relation to events prior to a certain point in time – as well as some of the new legislation to be retrospective in nature. The exercise of “mechanically” altering the legislative landscape is therefore fiendishly complex a task in project management – with little room for failure and the world watching.
The highly regarded position of the UK legal system is potentially at risk from a failure for this to be controlled and successful.The dependencies of the sub-tasks involved and the impacts of one change to another are surely too vast for mere human minds to solely manage – one is having to, in a snapshot, create a new legal system – whilst catering for the “ghosts” of the past.
Surely this is the showcase opportunity for Legal and Fintech to help bring to the fore of the drafters of the legislation required, the interconnectivity and dependencies at hand. Tools that can trawl through the various texts, and highlight mutual definitions, references and condition.
Surely this is the only way through the challenge… We have seen such utilities being used increasingly by the legal profession for drafting of agreements, helping lawyers on large transactions. However, this is truly the moment of truth.
Managing Partner, D2 Legal Technology