Dec 10 2018

Court Finds United Kingdom Can Remain in European Union

European Union, United Kingdom

The situation

The European Court of Justice ruled that the United Kingdom may unilaterally decide to stay in the European Union and does not need approval from all other EU countries to do so.

A closer look

In a ruling published December 10, 2018, the European Court of Justice ruled that the United Kingdom may unilaterally revoke its March 29, 2017 notification to leave the European Union. This ruling comes ahead of the UK Parliament’s vote on the draft Withdrawal Agreement, initially scheduled for December 11, 2018.

The United Kingdom may revoke this notification before March 29, 2019, if the Withdrawal Agreement has not been concluded and/or has not entered into force.

How this fits into Brexit negotiations

The ruling offers a third option to the UK Parliament, which was not confirmed to be possible before the ruling. The current options therefore are:

  • Approving the Withdrawal Agreement (soft Brexit);
  • Rejecting the Withdrawal Agreement, but still exiting the European Union (hard Brexit); or
  • Unilaterally revoking the withdrawal notification, allowing the United Kingdom to remain in the European Union.


Looking ahead

UK Prime Minister Theresa May announced to postpone the UK Parliament vote. Fragomen will continue to monitor the withdrawal process and will report relevant developments as they occur, including guidance on next steps and actions to be taken in all Brexit scenarios.

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen or send an email to [email protected] / [email protected].