Continental Breakfast: your daily update on what’s happening in Europe.
The U.K. government expects to lose its historic legal battle over whether it can start the Brexit process without wider parliamentary approval, sources have told the Guardian.
The government appealed a landmark High Court ruling that parliament must be allowed to vote on the triggering of Article 50, which starts a two-year deadline for a European Union member to complete its withdrawal from the political bloc.
The Supreme Court hearing ended in early December and the court has yet to deliver its judgment, but senior government figures are preparing for defeat and expect seven of the 11 judges to uphold the High Court ruling, the Guardian reports.
One of the lead claimant lawyers in the lawsuit told The American Lawyer at the end of the Supreme Court hearing that he was “confident” of victory.
The government is widely reported to have prepared a short, three-line bill that would allow prime minister Theresa May to trigger Article 50, even if the appeal is unsuccessful. It plans to introduce the bill, which has been tightly drawn in order to make it difficult for politicians to amend, immediately after the Supreme Court ruling.
Bank Of England: Brexit No Longer Main Threat To U.K.
The head of the Bank of England has said that Brexit is no longer the main threat to the country’s financial stability.
Bank of England governor Mark Carney told politicians yesterday that the primary danger associated with Brexit was that it could “amplify” other threats to the economy, including the weakening of the British pound and a depressed commercial real estate market.
Carney warned before the referendum that voting to leave the European Union could plunge the U.K. into recession, but other than a significant weakening of the British pound, the country’s economy has performed better than expected.
Carney repeated calls for a post-Brexit transitional deal to minimize damage to business and the economy, but said that financial risks are greater for the EU than they are for the U.K.
The same government committee was warned on Tuesday by business leaders that a loss of access to the EU single market could cost London tens of thousands of jobs.
London Stock Exchange CEO Xavier Rolet said that the U.K. could lose its position as the world leader in euro-denominated clearing unless the government provides clarity on what will happen to financial markets post-Brexit.
HSBC chairman Douglas Flint also told politicians that the bank was preparing to move 1,000 jobs from London to Paris due to uncertainty over the U.K.’s Brexit plans. Flint said that the bank was making arrangements to shift business away from the U.K. in preparation for a potential loss of European Union passporting rights, which allows financial institutions to run regional trading operations from London.
KWM Europe Drops Lawsuit Against Goodwin Procter
King & Wood Mallesons’ European arm has dropped a lawsuit against its former head of corporate Richard Lever and Goodwin Procter.
KWME filed claims against Goodwin and Lever in London’s High Court in October following the U.S. firm’s hiring of a highly-rated six-partner private equity team from KWME’s Paris office in April 2016.
But the firm has agreed to drop the litigation as part of a deal that saw Goodwin take on six partners and 15 associates from KWME in London. The American Lawyer’s U.K. sister title Legal Week reports that the hire required a special vote of the KWME partnership, due to the strained relationship between the two firms, with around 100 partners voting for the deal and seven voting against.
KWME earlier this week informed staff that the firm would no longer be paying their salaries as its key lender had blocked the payments. The firm is expected to finally enter administration in the coming days.