The Private International Law Consequences of Brexit

Jonathan Fitchen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The UK’s triggering of Article 50 TEU poses problems for the future of private international law in the UK and in the EU27. Th e UK’s departure from the EU will end the mutual application of European private international law within the UK’s legal systems and will affect the application of that EU law by the EU27 in matters concerning the UK as a new third State. After setting the problem in context, this article provides a political background to the events that led to the Brexit referendum of 2016 and to the UK’s June 2017 general election; thereafter it illustrates certain problems posed by the threat of ‘cliff -edges’ arising as a consequence of a ‘ disorderly’ UK exit from the European Union, finally it offers various possibilities concerning the future of private international law in the UK and in the EU. It is argued that if the beneficial aspects of the progress achieved for all European citizens by European private international law are to be salvaged from the Brexit process, both the UK and the EU must each consider most urgently the need for a realistic and undogmatic policy on the future of each other’s private international law that reflects the political reality that, though the UK will soon be a third State relative to the EU27, many natural and legal persons will remain connected with the EU27 despite Brexit. It is argued that each side might usefully consider the unifying goals underlying private international law.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)411-432
Number of pages22
JournalNederlands Internationaal Privaatrecht (NIPR)
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2017


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