Latest thinking


Latest thinking

What will Brexit mean for UK public and utilities procurement?

8 July 2016

Industries: Aerospace, Defense and Government Services, Energy and Natural Resources, Infrastructure and Transportation
Jurisdictions: United Kingdom
Services: Administrative and Public Law, Government Relations and Policy Advocacy

Public and utilities procurement has been significantly influenced by EU law over the last 25 years. We look at how a potential Brexit may affect it.

Public and utilities procurement is one of the many areas of UK law which has been significantly influenced by EU law over the last 25 years, and where a potential Brexit thus creates uncertainty as to both the shape of any future legislation and also the future market opportunities which UK contractors will be able to access in the rest of the EU (and the world) and those which EU contractors will be able to access in the UK.

Public and utilities procurement therefore adds to the long list of issues that will need to be negotiated as part of the exit process under Article 50 of the Treaty on the European Union (when and if it begins), and that will need to be included in any future arrangements between the UK and the EU. The UK referendum vote to Leave did not automatically trigger the exit process and it is currently anticipated that this will not happen until a new Prime Minster has been appointed for the UK. 

In the interim period, following the service of Article 50 withdrawal notice and before Brexit actually takes effect, EU procurement law will continue to apply across the UK, and UK contracting authorities and utilities will remain bound by the full extent of the EU/UK procurement regime. Whilst the intensity of the European Commission's enforcement efforts in such interim period remains to be seen, aggrieved contractors will still be able to challenge breaches of the EU/UK procurement regime before the domestic courts which will, in turn, be required to give effect to the law as it stands today. 

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