Alternatives to a no-deal Brexit

The British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has stated that the UK is leaving on the 31st October 2019 “no if’s, no but’s”. The markets seem to believe him as the pound continues to fall against other major currencies. The EU continues to maintain that the only deal available comes in the form of the Withdrawal Agreement (WA) along with the highly controversial Irish backstop, agreed with Theresa May’s government. From the UK perspective, the WA has been rejected 3 times by the UK Parliament and therefore, it is considered dead by many, particularly the new government. Assuming the WA does not go back to Parliament, what alternative routes exist that do not result in WTO no-deal exit?

Government loses control

Boris Johnson has a very narrow majority in Parliament. However, Brexit is a cross-party issue. It could either be through a vote of no confidence, leading to a government of national unity, or a general election, or even just to control the legislature to block a no-deal exit, resulting in a further extension of Article 50 or even a revocation should there be perceived lack of appetite from certain EU leaders for a further extension. If this were to take hold, it would need to happen in early September, and even then, the Remain side have been fighting among themselves to decide who should lead this group.

WA without backstop

The backstop remains one of the most controversial elements of the current deal available to the UK. The EU has consistently stated that it would not entertain removing the backstop and, for the time being, we should hold them to their word. Recently, Boris Johnson has been given the challenge to come up with credible “alternative arrangements” by the 20th September to allow the backstop to become redundant. There is scepticism this can be delivered, and therefore this avenue seems unlikely.

Free Trade Agreement (FTA)

There were rumours that the EU had always been prepared to offer a Free Trade Agreement before Theresa May started negotiations that lead to the Withdrawal Agreement. Many of the current Conservatives have wanted to work towards an FTA, similar to Canada’s, from the very beginning. Though it is quite unlikely, this could be implemented or agreed upon in the short period of time remaining. This may be the final destination for the UK-EU relationship, but it is not going to happen by 31st October.

EEA (Norway Style)

A type of Brexit that seems to never go away is the Norway style membership or EEA membership. In some ways, this provides the most deliverable transition at this juncture with the least disruption, considering the constraints of time and distance in consensus between both UK and EU parties. It would need ratification by the EU and the other members of the EEA group. So far, the UK has not entertained this option, but with all sides not wishing for a no-deal Brexit, this could and would be pushed through should the UK head for this option.

Standstill Agreement

Should a no-deal exit look very possible as we approach 31st October, or even have come to pass, there have been persistent rumours that some form of Standstill Agreement would apply to minimise the disruption. The Institute for Government have produced a good, concise article covering what is probably possible and the difficulties of achieving a Standstill Agreement.

In Summary

Even with 2 months to go, it is impossible to say where we might end up. There are still many things that can and will happen between now and 31st October. Should none of the above options come to pass, then the default remains a no-deal exit, with all the unknowns and likely disruption that will occur to both sides.


This update is for general guidance only. Specific legal advice should be obtained in all cases. This material is the copyright of Goodwille Limited (unless otherwise stipulated) and is not to be reproduced in whole or in part without prior written consent.

Data protection in the event of a no-deal Brexit

If the UK exits the EU on 31st October 2019, it would technically mean that all data transfers between the EU and the UK must cease with immediate effect come midnight on that date. This would be the case until one of the following three mechanisms available for transferring data to countries, which are not considered to offer adequate protection of individuals’ data, has been put in place:

1. Binding Corporate Rules

These rules are suitable for large multinational corporations as these cover intra-organisational data transfers of personal data across borders.

2. Derogations

Derogations (an exemption from or relaxing of the law) should be applied restrictively and are only suited to processing, which is occasional and non-repetitive.

3. Standard Data Protection Clauses

For most small to medium-sized companies, these clauses are likely to be the preferable, or indeed only, option for ensuring that data can continue to flow between the UK and the remaining EU member states. However, it is important to note that these must not be modified and must be signed as provided. While they can be added to a wider contract, or have additional clauses added to them, care must be taken to ensure the standard clauses are not contradicted. Another key element to highlight is that these clauses will always be governed by the laws of the Member State in which the EU-based party is based.

When considering what steps to take in order to keep making international transfers of data, it is worth assessing current relationships with other parties. Is your company the controller of the data transfers, or the processor? Ultimately, the onus to ensure the transfer is legally permissible is with the controller. Having said that, Goodwille strongly recommends clients to adopt a proactive approach. It may be appropriate for a processor to be the driving force behind putting one of the three above-discussed mechanisms in place. This should be done by the 31st October 2019, regardless of the outcome of the Brexit negotiations.

Do you have any questions about how a no-deal Brexit might affect your business’s data protection and how you ought to prepare? Do not hesitate to contact us – we’d be happy to answer any questions you may have.


This update is for general guidance only. Specific legal advice should be obtained in all cases. This material is the copyright of Goodwille Limited (unless otherwise stipulated) and is not to be reproduced in whole or in part without prior written consent.

No-deal Brexit from a people/HR perspective

Whilst it is clear with the appointment of Boris Johnson as Prime Minister that there will be a different tack to negotiations with the EU, at the time of writing the EU has maintained the stance it does not intend to renegotiate the terms of its deal with the UK.

In the case of a no-deal Brexit, it is likely to become more expensive and difficult for people to work, study and live across borders in the long run as well as gaining access to healthcare, benefits and social services.

For individuals

At this time, for current residents (EU citizens located in the UK by/on 31st October 2019) the UK have provided a grace period to continue to reside in the UK. They may apply for pre-settled status or settled status depending on certain qualifying conditions. EU citizens residing in the UK on exit day may also continue to receive temporary access to healthcare until December 2020. In terms of professional qualifications, EU citizens who have had their qualifications recognised in the UK by exit day will be protected.

EU Nationals who are not residing in the UK by/on exit day can still come to the UK to work or study without applying for immigration status or visas, as long as they do not stay for longer than 3 months. This means that it will still be possible for short-term business trips to happen. This arrangement will remain in place until the new UK immigration system comes into effect in 2021. For EU Nationals who are looking to stay in the UK for longer than the 3-month application free period, it will be possible to apply for Temporary Leave to Remain which grants up to a 36 month stay to work or study. Once this expires, EU Nationals will need to apply via the new immigration visa system and their time spent living in the UK via Temporary Leave to Remain will not count towards any permanent residency application. So far, the EU has granted UK nationals visa-free travel in the event of no-deal, allowing visits for 90 days in any 180 days.

For employers

There is speculation that there could be an economic slowdown due to Brexit which could in turn result in recruitment freezes. What we do know is that there will be more hurdles for HR when recruiting EU citizens into UK businesses and perhaps difficulty in replacing key personnel with certain skillsets (e.g. languages). When carrying out pre-employment screening, HR will also need to be mindful of changing data protection laws (as the UK will be considered a third country) if references need to be sought outside of the UK.

Another concern for employers is the potential change to secondment arrangements, whereby until now the UK has enjoyed favourable agreements with most EU countries for taxation and social security purposes. As of now, the UK has reached bilateral agreements with both Switzerland and the EFTA countries to protect existing healthcare arrangements in a no-deal scenario. The UK have also published draft Statutory Instruments in relation to the social security treatment of individuals in order to maintain current EU principles and rules on social security, however this does not affect social security in other EU countries.

In summary, even in a no-deal Brexit scenario, it will no doubt be more arduous but in no way an impossible situation.


This update is for general guidance only. Specific legal advice should be obtained in all cases. This material is the copyright of Goodwille Limited (unless otherwise stipulated) and is not to be reproduced in whole or in part without prior written consent.

Brexit update from Goodwille – August 2019

Last week, the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited his German and French counterparts, before going to the G7 summit in Biarritz, France. This was Johnson’s first appearance on the international stage since he took over the Premiership last month. Mrs Merkel and Mr Macron wish to avoid a no-deal Brexit as they think it would damage the EU and individual Member States, albeit less than Britain. However, the British Prime Minister is determined that the UK will leave the EU on 31st October 2019, with or without a deal.

Earlier this week, upon request from the Prime Minister, Queen Elizabeth II agreed to prorogue Parliament from the second week of September to 14th October 2019. The Prime Minister stated that the prorogation will give Government time to prepare for its “new and ambitious agenda”, and that there will be “ample time” for MPs to debate Brexit.

Prorogation is a formal mechanism to end a session of Parliament, normally lasting only a short time until proceedings begin again with a new Queen’s speech. It means Parliament’s sitting is suspended and ends all legislation currently under discussion.

Prorogations are not controversial in British politics, however this  prorogation has already been highly criticised. Critics include the opposition and the House of Commons Speaker John Bercow, as well as Tory MPs and the general public. A petition calling on the government not to prorogue Parliament has already been signed by over 1 million people. Critics argue that the length and timing of the prorogation is constitutionally wrong, and that the actual purpose of it is to stop Parliament debating Brexit, in order to hinder anti-no-deal legislation.


This update is for general guidance only. Specific legal advice should be obtained in all cases. This material is the copyright of Goodwille Limited (unless otherwise stipulated) and is not to be reproduced in whole or in part without prior written consent.

What Comes Next? The Business Analysis of ‘No-Deal’

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has examined the ‘no-deal’ preparations made by the UK government, the European Commission, Member States and companies in 27 areas of the UK-EU relationship that are most important to business.

They recently published a report on ‘no-deal’ readiness, including the table below (pages 9-10). Please click on the table to get to the original report for further reading.


This update is for general guidance only. Specific legal advice should be obtained in all cases. This material is the copyright of Goodwille Limited (unless otherwise stipulated) and is not to be reproduced in whole or in part without prior written consent.

How Could A ‘No-Deal Brexit’ Affect Goodwille’s Clients and Our Services?

It is impossible to go into every detail on how a ‘no-deal Brexit’ would affect Goodwille’s clients and our services, but one can start by categorising the possibilities in the sections below.

For clients based in one of the remaining Member States, the consequences of a ‘no-deal Brexit’ broadly fit into two categories. Firstly, the human aspect as there will be new rules to bring staff into the UK post Brexit. Secondly, the import/export side, affecting those with physical products or businesses operating in regulated markets. The latter will likely be hit the hardest with an increasing amount of paperwork and new systems related to importing goods from EU Member States to the UK (and, to a lesser extent, exporting from the UK to the remaining EU).

As we approach the 31st October deadline, companies that move goods into or out of the EU are once again facing the prospect of stockpiling. If not already done, it is important to check with delivery partners to ensure they are ready in the event of a ‘no-deal’. For goods trading companies, Goodwille has previously encouraged these clients to apply for a UK EORI number (please contact us if you require more details).

Companies in the service industry will likely only have to deal with changes to VAT reporting. This should be covered easily within the remit that Goodwille has with clients using Goodwille’s finance services.

Most impacted will be subsidiaries of EU companies in the UK. These are likely to face the biggest hurdle related to ‘no-deal’ planning. Nonetheless, companies from outside the EU may find the so-called “no-deal exit” less problematic, unless they use the UK to as a gateway to the EU market.

To ensure a continued presence within the EU after Brexit, Goodwille has been developing its network and we have secured partners in Ireland. We have established contacts with import specialists to make use of the TSP (Transitional Simplified Procedures). For clients wishing to bring staff into the UK, we have partnered with North Star Law to ensure expert immigration advisory services aiding with supported VISA applications to enter the UK. We have also partnered with relocation services businesses, which can be essential when it comes to moving a family to the UK smoothly.

Goodwille are currently supporting in the region of 400 subsidiary businesses in the UK, and the vast majority of these are headquartered in Northern & Central Europe.  Over the coming weeks (and months), as more information is released and it becomes clearer on the impact Brexit will have on foreign businesses ability to trade with the United Kingdom, then Goodwille will proactively keep our clients updated – you are in safe hands.


This update is for general guidance only. Specific legal advice should be obtained in all cases. This material is the copyright of Goodwille Limited (unless otherwise stipulated) and is not to be reproduced in whole or in part without prior written consent.

Boris Johnson on Brexit – One Week In

Delivering Brexit is the number one priority for Boris Johnson. He has repeatedly pledged that a ‘no-deal’ exit would be preferable to another extension. During his first speech as Prime Minister, he stated: ‘We are going to fulfil the repeated promises of parliament to the people and come out of the EU on 31st October, no ifs or buts’.

When his predecessor Theresa May was in office, a Withdrawal Agreement (WA) between the UK and the EU that would settle how the British would leave the Union was drafted and negotiated. The WA is close to 600 pages long. Some key points include:

  • A transition period of 21 months – in which the UK must abide by all EU rules;
  • A financial settlement, the so called “divorce bill” – to be paid by the UK to the EU;
  • Citizens’ rights – UK citizens in the EU-, and EU citizens in the UK will retain their residency and social rights after Brexit;
  • Northern Ireland/the backstop – an insurance policy designed to avoid a hard border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

To date, the WA has been rejected three times by the British Parliament. The issue regarding the Irish backstop was one major reason why Theresa May could not get the agreement through Parliament. Although the EU consistently has said it is unwilling to renegotiate the Withdrawal Agreement, Boris Johnson is confident that a better deal, one that the British Parliament will adopt, can be negotiated. He has for example stated that he believes the issue of the Irish border will be better dealt with after the UK has left the EU.

However, even if the EU were willing to consider the changes requested by the new PM, there is little time left. With less than 100 days left until 31st October 2019, the prospect of a no-deal exit is rising.


This update is for general guidance only. Specific legal advice should be obtained in all cases. This material is the copyright of Goodwille Limited (unless otherwise stipulated) and is not to be reproduced in whole or in part without prior written consent.

Brexit Timeline of Events

23rd June 2016
The United Kingdom European Union membership referendum took place, commonly known as the Brexit referendum. It resulted in 51.9 per cent of votes being in favour of leaving.

29th March 2017
The then Prime Minister Theresa May triggered Article 50 of the Treaty on the European Union, which began the UK’s withdrawal.

29th March 2019
The UK was originally due to leave the EU. The process was delayed as the Withdrawal Agreement drafted and negotiated by the then Prime Minister Theresa May was not approved in the British Parliament.

7th June 2019
Theresa May announced she will resign as Prime Minister.

23rd July 2019
Boris Johnson is elected new leader of the Conservative party.

24th July 2019
Boris Johnson becomes the UK’s new Prime Minister.

3rd September 2019
Parliament returns from recess. The new session will commence in which the Prime Minister will have to battle the pro-EU Members of Parliament as his intention is to leave the EU on 31st October 2019.

29th September – 2nd October 2019
Conservative party conference. The first official outing for Boris Johnson as Prime Minister, where he will set the course for his premiership. His first conference speech is likely to carry even more significance as Brexit day (31st October 2019) will barely be a month away.

17th – 18th October 2019
EU Summit. The last scheduled EU summit before the UK is set to exit the EU.

31st October 2019
Brexit day. The UK is set to leave the EU on this date, be it with or without a deal. EU leaders have stated that the UK will have to choose to either carry through with a no-deal Brexit, ratify the Withdrawal Agreement or cancel its departure entirely. The EU is not willing to discuss renegotiations and considering Boris Johnson’s stance of Brexit, a no-deal scenario is thus increasingly likely.

31st December 2020
End of transition period. Even with the UK’s departure from the EU having been delayed, the date for the end of the transition remains unchanged. This means that instead of being a 21-month transition from 31st March 2019 when the UK originally was to complete its exit, it will now be a 14-month transition from 31st October 2019.

31st December 2022
The backstop commences. According to the provisional withdrawal treaty, if ‘no-deal’ to avoid a hard border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland is in place by this point, the backstop will automatically come into effect. This means that the UK will remain in a temporary customs union with the EU.


This update is for general guidance only. Specific legal advice should be obtained in all cases. This material is the copyright of Goodwille Limited (unless otherwise stipulated) and is not to be reproduced in whole or in part without prior written consent.

About Boris Johnson

On Tuesday 23rd July 2019, Boris Johnson was elected new leader of the Conservative party in the United Kingdom. The following day, he became the 14th person invited by Queen Elizabeth II to form a government. Johnson is thus the third British Prime Minister since the Brexit referendum that took place in June 2016.

Following the change of Tory PM, there has been a reshuffle of government. Johnson has described the new cabinet as a “cabinet for modern Britain”. It includes Dominic Raab, who is the new Foreign Secretary and First Secretary of State. Priti Patel has replaced Sajid Javid as Home Secretary, who in turn is the new Chancellor. Stephen Barclay remains Brexit Secretary.

Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson was born to British parents in 1964 in New York. His father is a former British Conservative Member of the European Parliament. Johnson therefore spent a couple of years of his childhood in Belgium. He was educated at Eton College and at the University of Oxford.

Prior to the referendum, Boris Johnson was one of the front figures of the Leave campaign who is believed to have contributed to the UK’s decisions to leave.

After Theresa May became Prime Minister in July 2016, she appointed Johnson Foreign Secretary. He resigned two years later. Between 2008 and 2016, Boris Johnson was Mayor of London. Prior to becoming a Member of Parliament, he worked as a political journalist for newspapers such as The Times, The Daily Telegraph and The Spectator.


This update is for general guidance only. Specific legal advice should be obtained in all cases. This material is the copyright of Goodwille Limited (unless otherwise stipulated) and is not to be reproduced in whole or in part without prior written consent.

Updates to the EU Settlement Scheme

Following the resignation of Prime Minister Theresa May, and with the race for a new Prime Minister and leader of the Tory Party already in full-swing, the level of uncertainty in the Brexit process has definitely increased and muddied potential outcomes. Nevertheless, the UK is still due to leave the EU on, or before, 31 October 2019 as agreed with the EU in April. This has led to a shift in the timetable of the Brexit process and some deadlines for the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS).

In January 2019, we published our guide to the EUSS; a flowchart looking at 3 primary questions concerning EU citizens’ rights in the UK post-Brexit UK. There have since been some notable changes to the EUSS flowchart, such as the UK government opening the EUSS to the public at no cost in April as promised, the possibility for iPhone users to also use the Home Office App later this year to upload passport information, the UK government noting that EEA country citizens would also be able to apply for EUSS, are but a few changes of noteworthy importance. There is more information in our flowchart, which is accessible on the link below.

We understand the uncertainty surrounding the fate of all EU citizens in the UK in a post-Brexit Britain, and our guide aims to shed some light on the changes to the rights of residency for EU and EEA citizens in the UK. Our flowchart will forward you to relevant sites and offer professional guidance concerning any aspects of the relevant law, and hopefully, provide you with a piece of mind regarding your rights to remain in the UK post-Brexit.

Access our guide to the EU Settlement Scheme here.

Do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about your rights to reside and do business in and with the United Kingdom after Brexit.