Brexit update: Government issues paper on a no-deal
On 26 February, the government issued a paper titled ‘Implications for Business and Trade of a no Deal Exit on 29 March 2019’. It says that while the government has undertaken significant action to prepare for a potential no deal scenario, business largely has not. ‘There is little evidence that businesses are preparing in earnest for a no deal scenario, and evidence indicates that readiness of small and medium-sized enterprises in particular is low’, the government says.
On data protection, the paper says:
‘Uninterrupted personal data flows are critical for many UK businesses’ processes and all trading activity. For example, a wide range of financial services activities require the transfer of personal data, including the servicing of cross-border contracts and payments. The UK would need to seek adequacy decisions from the EU, which the EU has said they will not start until the UK is a third country. Therefore, in the event of a no deal exit, there would be a gap in the lawful free flow of personal data while the assessment takes place. Alternative legal bases to enable the continued lawful flow of data, in the absence of adequacy, are available. To prepare for a no deal scenario, many UK businesses need to work with their EU partners to secure a legal basis for the continued transfer of personal data from the EEA to the UK. Businesses are at varied levels of readiness and the government is engaging widely to increase awareness of actions that businesses can take.’
The government’s primary aim remains to ensure that the UK leaves the EU on 29 March with a negotiated deal. If there is a deal, the UK will be subject to EU law and apply the GDPR at least until the end of the transitional period, 2020. In case of a no-deal, the UK version of the GDPR, the UK GDPR will apply (essentially same as GDPR, just omitting references to ‘EU’).
The next steps are a ‘meaningful vote’ at the House of Commons by or on Tuesday 12 March to approve the Withdrawal Agreement and the Political Declaration. If not adopted, there will be a further vote on 13 March on whether the UK should leave the EU without a deal. If this proposal is rejected, the following vote will be about extending Article 50 to give the UK more negotiating time.
PL&B’s 32nd Annual International Conference in Cambridge, 1-3 July 2019, will feature sessions on Brexit and adequacy.