An exit by the UK from the EU, or even the possibility of it, would undoubtedly cause considerable uncertainty, and uncertainty inevitably leads to an increase in disputes.
It is unlikely that an exit would substantially damage the UK’s position as a premier dispute resolution centre, although it could weaken London's standing as one of the world's leading financial centres and encourage major participants, investors and businesses to move to a hub in the Eurozone, such as Paris or Frankfurt.
A period of upheaval might give scope for claims against the UK by investors under its bilateral and multi-lateral investment treaties, based in part, for example on their expectations as to the stability of the regulatory system into which they invested.
In addition, a UK exit would (at least in the short term) lead to considerable uncertainty from an employment law perspective, as certain key aspects (eg. working time regulations, agency workers, fixed-term employee and part time- worker protection, and health and safety) are derived from EU legislation.
Further, would a UK exit fundamentally alter the UK's status as a global investment location for real estate, since no market flourishes in time of uncertainty?
From a legal perspective, the Government will face a considerable challenge to mitigate additional burdens on UK businesses and safeguard prosperity and jobs, regardless of the political and social impact.
With the general election 18 days away and the prospect of a referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU if the Conservatives win, law firms have to consider the consequences for their clients in the event of a ‘Brexit’.The consequences of a UK exit from the EU would depend very much on what the exit would look like. For example, would the UK have nothing further to do with the EU, or would we join the European Free Trade Association or enter into some other free trade agreement? These questions have not even begun to be asked, let alone answered.