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In a referendum held on 23 June 2016, voters in the United Kingdom voted for the UK to leave the European Union.  The legal repercussions of 'Brexit' are significant and will have an impact on the work of the Centre and its members.  As a public institution, CELS believes that it has a role to play in understanding and explaining the legal dynamics of Brexit.  As a research centre that focuses on European Legal Studies as a distinctive field of legal enquiry, CELS is well-positioned to explore the UK's changing relationship not just with the European Union, but with a range of states and organisations operating in Europe.  Throughout 2016 and 2017, CELS will host a number of events and activities focusing on the legal implications of Brexit and details of those events can be found on this site.


On the 23rd June, voters in the United Kingdom were asked in a referendum to decide whether they wished the United Kingdom to 'Remain' in the European Union or to 'Leave', and to determine whether the UK would notify the European Council of its decision to withdraw from the EU using the procedure set out in Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union.

Two organisations were officially recognised by the Electoral Commission as leaders on either side of the referendum campaign:

During the course of the campaign, different statements and assertions were made by both sides. CELS is pleased to have supported Full Fact, one of many organisations and news programmes which sought to check the accuracy of these statements and claims. 

The UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) also funded a programme on The UK in a Changing Europe. It provided expert analysis of these issues from a group of expert senior fellows. CELS Chair, Professor Catherine Barnard was one of these senior fellows. You can read more about her fellowship and her collaboration with CELS member Dr Amy Ludlow at the EU Migrant Worker Project.

Blogging and social media was significant throughout the referendum and different universities offered access to opinion and debates including:

CELS and the EU Referendum

Public engagement is an important aspect of the work of CELS. Our members were hugely active in seeking to inform on the issues surrounding the referendum.

CELS organised a number of events related to the referendum and some video and audio resources are still available:

Members of CELS have spoken at a large number of referendum-related events and you can find some examples of Professor Catherine Barnard’s outreach work on the EU Migrant Worker Project website.

You can also see Professor Kenneth Armstrong discuss Brexit and its consequences together with Sir Stephen Wall and Professor Simon Hix, LSE at an event organised by The Constitution Unit at UCL.

CELS experts have also contributed letters and articles to journals, newspapers and blogs: