Intention to leave the EU
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (“UK”) notified the European Council that it intended to withdraw from the European Union (“EU”) by a letter of 29 March 2017 in accordance with the procedure set out in Article 50 of the Treaty of European Union.
Following ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement, withdrawal formally took place with effect from midnight Central European Time (“CET”) which was 23:00 in London (Western European Time “WET”) on Friday 31st January 2020.
The United Kingdom is no longer a Member State of the EU as of 1 February 2020. However, a transitional period, agreed as part of the Withdrawal Agreement, will last until 31 December 2020. (Although in principle the UK government could request an extension of the transitional period, it has legislated to the effect that it will not do so.).
From 1 February and throughout the transitional period, the UK will no longer be represented in the EU institutions including the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers. As a third country the UK will no longer participate in the EU’s decision-making processes.
Mandates of the British Judges of the European Courts ends
On 31st January, the Court of Justice (“CJEU”) took formal notice that the effect of the withdrawal of the UK from the EU was to bring to an end the mandates of the British Judges (at both the General Court and the CJEU) with effect from midnight.
However, the United Kingdom continues to be considered an EU Member state during transition
On the other hand, the transition period foreseen by the Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union, of October 2019, and in particular Article 127 6. thereof, provides that for (most) legal purposes the United Kingdom will continue to be considered as an EU Member State until the end of the transition period (31st December 2020):
Article 127 6. “Unless otherwise provided in this Agreement, during the transition period, any reference to Member States in the Union law applicable” (…), “shall be understood as including the United Kingdom”. (Emphasis added.)