Brexit timeline and key documents

Published on 24th Jun 2016


8 May 2015 Conservative government elected, promising to deliver an “in/out” referendum on Brexit.
28 May 2015 The European Union Referendum Bill, seeking legislation for a referendum before the end of 2017, regardless of the outcome of any renegotiation exercise, is presented to Parliament.
17 December 2015 Following agreement by both Houses on its content, the European Union Referendum Bill receives Royal Assent.
1 February 2016 The European Union Referendum Act 2015 comes into force.
18-19 February 2016 The Prime Minister attends EU summit in Brussels to negotiate revised terms for Britain’s membership of the EU.
17-18 March 2016 The next EU Summit.
23 June 2016 Referendum.
Late June 2016 (or later) A two year transitional period starts to run once the UK gives formal notice of its intention to exit the EU to the European Council.
During this period, the UK will negotiate an exit agreement setting out the terms of the UK’s on-going relationship with the EU.
It is possible that negotiations may continue for several years, in which case the transitional period may be extended until such time as an agreement is reached.

Key Brexit documents

What is it called? Who is running it? What will it do? Deadlines?
House of Commons Library research Paper “Leaving the EU” House of Commons House of Commons research paper, which examines various issues connected with, and the likely impact of, Brexit. Read more here. Published 1 July 2013
Review of the balance of competences UK Government A comprehensive audit of the EU and how it affects the UK. Read more here. Conducted from Autumn 2012 – Autumn 2014
The European Union (Referendum) Act 2015 UK Parliament Legislation concerning referendum before 2017, regardless of the outcome of the renegotiation exercise. Read more here. The Bill received Royal Assent on 17 December 2105, and entered into force on 1 February 2016.
UK Deal Donald Tusk, president of the European Commission Terms of deal agreed by all 28 Member States on 19 February 2016. Read more here. Deal approved on 19 February 2016
Article 50 the Treaty of the European Union Member States of the European Union Sets out the process for giving notice of a Member State’s intention to leave the EU. The European Union must negotiate an exit strategy with the UK on transitional arrangements and final agreement within an (extendable) two year period from notice to leave being given. Read more here. Signed in Lisbon on 13 December 2007

Visit our Brexit page for more on the legal implications of Brexit for your business, or register to receive regular Brexit updates by email.

Interested in hearing more from Osborne Clarke?


* This article is current as of the date of its publication and does not necessarily reflect the present state of the law or relevant regulation.

Interested in hearing more from Osborne Clarke?