“Brexit”—Vote by the UK to Leave the EU: Legal Implications

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP - June 24, 2016

In a referendum held in the UK on June 23, 2016, a majority of those voting voted for the UK to leave the EU. The attached memorandum briefly summarizes some of the main legal implications of the “leave” vote and is primarily for the benefit of those outside the UK who have not followed the referendum campaign in detail.
The UK currently remains a member of the EU and there will not be any immediate change in either EU or UK law as a consequence of the “leave” vote.  However, the “leave” vote now heralds the beginning of a lengthy process under which (i) the terms of the UK’s withdrawal from, and future relationship with, the EU are negotiated and (ii) legislation to implement the UK’s withdrawal from the EU is enacted (primarily in the UK, but also at the EU level and in other EU member states to the extent necessary). The ultimate legal impact of the “leave” vote will depend on the terms that are negotiated in relation to the UK’s future relationship with the EU.