Complexity’s embrace. The international law implications of Brexit

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Publication Date 2018
ISBN 978-1-928096-62-7 (hbk) | 978-1-928096-63-4 (pbk) | 978-1-928096-64-1 (ebk)
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The United Kingdom’s June 2016 Brexit vote sent shockwaves throughout the European Union and the world. Since the start of Brexit negotiations, the complexity and cost of extracting the United Kingdom from the European Union and its regulatory and governance structures have become increasingly evident. The United Kingdom has to disentangle itself from the many ties that bind it to the European Union; negotiate mutually acceptable replacement agreements; prepare satisfactory domestic replacement law, regulation and administrative institutions; and get ready to negotiate new treaties with other states once autonomy is achieved.

Complexity’s Embrace looks into the deep currents of legal and governance change that will result from the United Kingdom’s departure. The book’s contributors include international law experts and academics from the United Kingdom, Europe and North America who present the challenges of Brexit from different viewpoints and across a wide range of areas. These areas include trade, financial services, cross-border insolvency, intellectual property rights, the environment and human rights.

The book reveals details of what Brexit means for international and domestic laws and regulations that shape daily life and suggests possible ways forward. UK negotiators face the challenge of satisfying Leave voters’ desire for greater British autonomy and control while avoiding economic and social upheaval. As the authors peel back the layers of this onion and negotiators on both sides try to find an acceptable compromise, the question burns: will the two parties be able to achieve a mutually satisfactory separation agreement?


  1. Brexit and international trade: one year after the referendum | Valerie Hughes
  2. Squaring the circle: the search for an accommodation between the European Union and the United Kingdom | Armand de Mestral
  3. Renegotiating the EU-UK trade relationship: lessons from NAFTA | David A. Gantz
  4. Trade policy in the age of populism: why the new bilateralism will not work | Thomas Cottier
  5. Brexit and financial services: navigating through the complexity of exit scenarios | Maziar Peihani
  6. How does it feel to be a third country? The consequences of Brexit for financial market law | Matthias Lehmann and Dirk Zetzsche
  7. Cross-border insolvencies after Brexit: views from the United Kingdom and continental Europe | Howard P. Morris, Gabriel Moss, Federico M. Mucciarelli and Christoph G. Paulus
  8. Failing financial institutions: how will Brexit impact cross-border cooperation in recovery, reconstruction and insolvency processes? | Dorothy Livingston
  9. UK patent law and copyright law after Brexit: potential consequences | Luke McDonagh
  10. The effect of Brexit on trademarks, designs and other “Europeanized” areas of intellectual property law in the United Kingdom | Marc Mimler
  11. Brexit and environmental law: the rocky road ahead | Markus Gehring and Freedom-Kai Phillips
  12. Advancing environmental justice in a post-Brexit United Kingdom | Damilola S. Olawuyi
  13. Brexit and international environmental law | Richard Macrory and Joe Newbigin
  14. Brexit, Brexatom, the environment and future international relations | Stephen Tromans
  15. Lessons from Brexit: reconciling international and constitutional aspirations | Oonagh E. Fitzgerald
  16. Brexit and human rights | Colm O’Cinneide
  17. Brexit: can the United Kingdom change its mind? | Helen Mountfield
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