Brexit and Acquired Rights

7 Pages Posted: 2 Dec 2017

See all articles by Michael Waibel

Michael Waibel

University of Cambridge - Faculty of Law; Lauterpacht Centre for International Law; University of Cambridge - Jesus College

Date Written: November 30, 2017


As a hybrid provision, the much-discussed withdrawal provision in Article 50 of the TEU is part of European Union law yet also anchored in public international law. Due to this anchoring of EU law, the UK’s withdrawal raises important questions of public international law that are the focus of this essay. First, this essay examines the relationship between the specialized withdrawal right in Article 50 of the TEU and the customary international law on withdrawal from treaties in Article 70 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (“VCLT”), and explores its implications for the UK’s obligations vis-à-vis the EU and its member states. Second, it looks at how Brexit affects the acquired rights of third parties to the EU treaties, namely those of citizens of the other 27 EU member states—an issue that brings Brexit’s most critical practical challenges into sharp focus.

Keywords: Brexit, UK's Financial Obligations, Acquired Rights, Article 50, VCLT

JEL Classification: K33, F53

Suggested Citation

Waibel, Michael, Brexit and Acquired Rights (November 30, 2017). AJIL Unbound, Forthcoming; University of Cambridge Faculty of Law Research Paper No. 61/2017. Available at SSRN:

Michael Waibel (Contact Author)

University of Cambridge - Faculty of Law ( email )

10 West Road
Cambridge, CB3 9DZ
United Kingdom

Lauterpacht Centre for International Law ( email )

5 Cranmer Road
Cambridge, CB3 9BL
United Kingdom

University of Cambridge - Jesus College ( email )

Jesus Lane
Cambridge, CB5 8BL
United Kingdom

Register to save articles to
your library


Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics