No clear picture was put forward during the referendum debate as to what form the UK’s relationship with the European Union (EU) should take if the UK chose to relinquish EU membership.

Existing models of relationship with the EU, short of membership, are an obvious starting point in assessing possible options, although it seems most likely that the UK will be looking for a bespoke arrangement rather than slotting in to one of those models. The specific terms of the UK’s new relationship with the EU will be subject to political negotiation.

The Law Society identified five options in its report:

  • European Economic Area (EEA)/European Free Trade Association (EFTA) membership (for example, Norway)
  • EFTA membership with additional cooperation on the basis of bilateral agreements (for example, Switzerland)
  • Customs union (for example, Turkey)
  • World Trade Organization (WTO) membership only
  • WTO membership augmented by a free trade agreement.