Bitesize Brexit 2.0. Tips on what to do now: licences, permits & consents

All businesses have licences, permits and consents to do the things they want and need to do. As Brexit 2.0 looms, businesses need to make sure they don’t overlook the key paperwork they need for 2021 onwards.

For the 47 years and one month that the UK was a member of the EU, the UK outsourced a lot of its red tape to the Belgian capital. Now this red tape’s coming home. While, in due course, the UK Government might decide to scrap some regulations—something that is usually easier said than done—for now businesses need to be alive to potentially significant changes in the regulatory environment in which they operate.

In this series of bite-size ‘Brexit countdown’ articles, we focus on the commercial implications of ‘Brexit 2.0’ in certain key areas and set out a high-level overview of the sort of things you should be thinking about with your teams and customers, and what you should be doing to get yourself Brexit-ready.

Last time, we looked at the labour market and free movement of people. In this article we look at licences, permits & consents.

What sorts of things should you typically be thinking about?

For any licences, permits and consents that you need, consider these key matters in particular:

  • what existing licences, permits and consents are currently in place and could be lost?
  • what new licences, permits or consents might be required for your business?
  • have you considered any likely delays and costs in obtaining new licences, permits or consents?
  • UK businesses may no longer benefit from EU-wide approval schemes or reciprocal arrangements between the EU and the rest of the world. What schemes or arrangements does your business benefit from? What are the likely consequences if these schemes or arrangements are no longer available or available only in part?
  • does your business have any dual-use licences? Dual-use items are goods, software and technology that can be used for both civilian and military applications. After 11pm on 31 December 2020, the movement of dual-use items from the UK to the EU will require an export licence in the same way as for non-EU destinations. For imports into the UK, a new licence issued by an EU member state will be needed. Existing licences for dual-use items to and from the UK will no longer be valid. Are you ready if you import or export dual-use items?
  • are there any other licensing controls you need to be aware of?

Of course, every business will need to consider its own particular circumstances based on factors such as, in particular:

  • its location
  • the nature of its goods and services
  • the business, economic and regulatory environment in which it operates
  • the location of its key customers and suppliers, and
  • the make-up of its workforce.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to the analysis you need to do but thinking about the commercial aspects above can help you decide what legal changes (if any) are necessary now and in the months to come.

At Shoosmiths, we have stayed close to Brexit developments. As always, we welcome any thoughts or comments from you and are ready to help you prepare for Brexit.

We are also producing briefings across all specialisms to keep you informed of legal changes anticipated in light of Brexit.

If you have any queries, do get in touch.

In the next article in this series, we’ll be looking at tariffs.


This information is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any of the information given. © Shoosmiths LLP 2024.


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