The question of the UK's membership of the European Union (EU) is now firmly on the agenda, with a Referendum taking place on 23 June 2016.

With a deal having been reached between Member States relating to the UK's "special status" within the EU, the period leading up to the referendum will be crucial in drawing the final battlelines for those who support or oppose the UK remaining within the EU.

We consider the implications from a legal perspective of a Brexit (a UK exit from the EU). A key point to note from the outset is that the implications depend very much on what 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 form of 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.