London, UK — Markus Gehring, who leads international economic law research at the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), acted as an expert witness on Brexit in the House of Lords today.

The House of Lords European Union (EU) Select Committee is gathering evidence on a wide range of issues to help it understand the complexity of Brexit negotiations. As an EU and international sustainable development lawyer, Gehring has provided key analysis in the wake of the Brexit vote through his expert CIGI commentary. During his participation in the hearing today, Gehring outlined some of the key challenges for the UK as the exit from the EU is negotiated:

“On many of these technical details, we actually have jurisprudence by the Court of Justice. The EU Commission is not bound by the political will of the EU Member states, nor is it solely driven by what might be in the best interests of the European Union. There are also legal limits as to how far the Commission can go in certain areas; the Commission will have to observe or amend the treaties in order to accommodate such a new agreement with a former Member state. That is an entirely different kettle of fish – renegotiating the foundational treaties of the EU is no small feat. Some commentators have said it’s virtually impossible.”

Gehring also highlighted that relying on the existing EU Free Trade Agreements was not a realistic legal prospect for the UK as the EU would essentially have to consent to the continued participation of the UK in these treaties.

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The International Law Research Program at CIGI is a 10-year initiative, jointly funded by CIGI and the Ministry of Research and Innovation of the Province of Ontario. As an integrated multidisciplinary research and mentoring program, the ILRP provides leading academics, government and private sector legal experts, as well as graduate students and post-doctoral candidates from Canada and abroad, with the opportunity to contribute to improving the global rule of law. The ILRP's mission is to connect knowledge, policy and practice to build the international law framework that supports international governance of the future. The program focuses on international economic law, international intellectual property law and international environmental law.

The Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) is an independent, non-partisan think tank on international governance. Led by experienced practitioners and distinguished academics, CIGI supports research, forms networks, advances policy debate and generates ideas for multilateral governance improvements. Conducting an active agenda of research, events and publications, CIGI’s interdisciplinary work includes collaboration with policy, business and academic communities around the world.

The opinions expressed in this article/multimedia are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of CIGI or its Board of Directors.