London Judge Sets Out Five Possible Brexit Outcomes

(Bloomberg) -- As Brexit turmoil intensifies, what happens on March 29 when Britain is due to leave the European Union remains almost anyone’s guess. But a London judge has given it a shot.

In a ruling Wednesday about how Brexit affects leases on London office space, judge Marcus Smith said he could think of five possible scenarios.

While it’s “not for a judge to speculate,” Smith said he needed to set out the possibilities in order to consider the central matter in the lawsuit: a claim by the European Medicines Agency that Britain quitting the EU should allow it to break its 500 million-pound ($651 million) lease on a Canary Wharf office.

Smith ruled against the EMA, saying that whatever happens with Brexit, the agency -- which is moving to Amsterdam because of the split -- remains bound by the lease. Here are his five scenarios:

Scenario 1: No Deal

The deadline kicks in without the Withdrawal Agreement -- Prime Minister Theresa May’s deal on the terms of departure -- being approved. “On this basis, the United Kingdom withdraws from the European Union” on March 29 “without any further agreement” with the bloc, Smith said in the ruling.

Scenario 2: Extension, No Deal

The deadline is extended but there’s still no deal. “The United Kingdom withdraws from the European Union on that later date, but otherwise the position is exactly the same as in Scenario 1,” he said.

Scenario 3: May’s Deal

The U.K. passes the Withdrawal Agreement and leaves the EU under its terms, either on March 29 or later, with a transition period.

Scenario 4: New Deal

Further U.K.-EU negotiations result in a revised or completely new Withdrawal Agreement, under which the U.K. leaves the EU either on March 29 or later. Since there’s “no alternative version of the Withdrawal Agreement for me to consider,” the judge said it’d be “entirely pointless and wholly speculative” of him to think about this option.

Scenario 5: No Brexit

The U.K. withdraws Article 50 and remains a member of the EU. The EU’s top court said in December that the U.K. can unilaterally reverse the Brexit process.

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