Those of you who have read Kafka’s “The Trial” may understand my feelings and concerns following last Friday’s vote. The words “lunatics” and “asylum” come to mind.

This blog is focussed on the impact on business, but before I start I’d better nail my colours to the mast. I was a firm believer that the UK should remain as a member of the EU. Yes, it is a (deeply) flawed body, but I think the decision reached in the Brexit referendum has best been summed up by the cover of the New Yorker magazine. I’ll stop the personal rant now, but if you do want to hear much, much more, then call me.

As I said, the focus of this blog is the impact the decision has on business – our clients, friends and colleagues. It is trite to say that, on 28th June 2016, when asked “what now?” the answer is “nobody knows”. None of us would, I hope, go into critical negotiations without knowing what we want, considering what the other side wants and working out how to get there. And critically, we would counsel against laying down ultimatums without being prepared to carry them out. But, I am getting into rant mode again.

We are already starting to advise clients on the likely impact of the decision:

  • Should holding companies be set up elsewhere in the EU
  • For businesses based elsewhere in the UK, might a holding company in Scotland make sense if there is a possibility that Scotland will remain in the EU
  • What do we do about key employees who come from other EU countries?

We will be preparing and updating a briefing note for clients as the implications of the referendum decision become clearer – if they ever will – in the coming weeks and months (and, heaven help us, years). If you’d like to be on the circulation list, please email

Let me finish with a practical example. Friday’s result came on the last full day of a holiday in Torridon. For those of you who don’t know the area, Torridon is a remote and beautiful part of Wester Ross, in the north-west Scottish highlands. To get there – one of the EU’s “less favoured areas” – you pass along roads and projects partly or mainly funded by EU money. And, as a result the local tourism business is doing very well: you see lots of non-UK number plates. The owner of the hotel to which our cottage was attached has 25 full time employees – 3 of whom are UK nationals (largely because he couldn’t get other UK nationals to fill vacant posts). And by Saturday morning he was worried whether he would be able to employ non-UK nationals in the future; whether he would have to apply for visas; and so on.

The Chinese curse was “may you live in interesting times”. Or, more relevantly, be careful what you wish for.

John Clarke

28 June 2016

Commercial Property

Introducing Sharon Strong

We are delighted to welcome a new Trainee Solicitor at CCW: Sharon Strong.  Sharon achieved a 2:1 (hons) LLB from the University of Dundee in Law and Accountancy, and has a dual qualification in both English and Scots Law as well as a Diploma in Professional Legal Practice.

Sharon has an intriguing background, with a real entrepreneurial and creative streak.  Having always been interested in the music business and songwriting she set up her own music production company and has experienced considerable success in this world; Sharon was named one of the ‘Top 20 Songwriters and Producers to Watch’ by the international Hit Talk website. This followed stints as a fashion model and TV presenter, both of which have contributed to Sharon’s confident, articulate personality.

Despite the glamorous edge to Sharon’s career, at heart she is very much an ambitious Commercial Lawyer in the making, with an interest in Media and Intellectual Property.  She is keen to get stuck in at CCW, meeting our interesting mix of clients and taking her training up to the next level.

It’s all change for Sharon, with her recent wedding in St Andrews and a new position at CCW – we look forward to her career developing further with us and we’re sure she will be a fantastic asset to our team.