The Consequences of Brexit: Some Complications From International Law

4 Pages Posted: 20 Aug 2014

See all articles by Andrew T. F. Lang

Andrew T. F. Lang

London School of Economics - Law Department

Date Written: June 2014


As the UK approaches the possibility of an in-out referendum on EU membership in 2017, it is important to prepare for a vigorous public debate about what exit from the EU might mean for Britain, politically, socially and economically. One significant issue has to do with the impact of exit on Britain’s relationship with the European internal market, as well as its major non-European trading partners. This paper looks at some aspects of the international legal framework relevant to this issue, and argues that existing international trade treaties seriously complicate the question of Britain’s exit from the EU. They are, it suggests, likely to make it more difficult for Britain to manage the process smoothly, and on its own terms – primarily because they significantly expand the range of stakeholders with a say in how the process is managed.

Suggested Citation

Lang, Andrew, The Consequences of Brexit: Some Complications From International Law (June 2014). LSE Law: Policy Briefing Paper No. 3. Available at SSRN: or

Andrew Lang (Contact Author)

London School of Economics - Law Department ( email )

Houghton St
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom
+44 (0) 2078494644 (Phone)


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