On 31 December 2020 at 11.00pm after forty-eight years the United Kingdom and European Union concluded the UK departure from the EU when the Transition Period (TP) following the Withdrawal Agreement (WA) came to an end and the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) between the UK and the EU was signed. From 11pm 31 December 2020, Britain was no longer bound by EU law and the jurisdiction of the EU Court of Justice (CJEU). It had left the single market and the customs union. The UK was set loose to find its way in the world. It is quite clear that while the treaty opens a new phase in relations between ourselves and Europe there is deep uncertainty as to what the future holds in our relations with the Union. Although the relationship had frequently been turbulent it was almost unthinkable until shortly over five years ago that the UK would depart from the Union. The purpose of this article is not to revisit past reflections on the indelible influence of EU law on UK law and its legacy (See P. Birkinshaw, European Public Law: The Achievement and the Brexit Challenge (3rd ed. 2020)). It will offer an account of the TCA and its provisions, future difficulties that the TCA is likely to present as it unfolds; what returning sovereignty, and sovereignty, mean; and to offer some thoughts on the future relationship and influence of EU law on our domestic law.
European Public Law – Kluwer Law International
Published: Jul 1, 2021