In the UK, the General Election is a few days away and with it is the prospect of a Referendum on the UK's membership of the European Union (EU) by the end of 2017, if the Conservatives form the next Government.

In our briefing we consider the implications from a legal perspective of a UK exit from the EU.

A key point to note from the outset is that this would depend very much on what the EU membership would be replaced with.  For example, would the UK have no formal link with the EU, or would we join the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and (like most EFTA countries) the European Economic Area (EEA) agreement with the EU or would we enter into some other free trade agreement with the EU?

What we do know is that much of the UK's law is comprised of directly effective EU law, or UK law implementing EU Directives or supplementing directly effective EU law.  If these laws were to be discontinued, it would leave huge gaps in our legislative framework and, at least initially, transitional arrangements would be needed.