Negotiating Brexit – A Clash of Legal Cultures?

By | 7th May 2017

Under English law, A can break the contract with B, provided they pay compensation, sharing the extra profit they get from selling to C instead. The exact share will depend upon how much notice they can give B, what other suppliers are available, etc. From an economic point of view, this is more efficient. If C is willing to pay a higher price than B, then then the widgets are going to be put to a more productive use. Our French visitors, however, were morally outraged. As far they were concerned, a contract had something of the character of a sacred promise… [There is a] similar cultural gap between UK and EU politicians and negotiators approaching Brexit. The UK side appear to be convinced that everything is negotiable now that they have decided that the contract with the EU is no longer seen to serve a national interest – just like A finding they can get a better price for widgets from C than from B. The EU team, on the other hand, are clearly signalling that fundamental principles are sacred and not open to variation… Negotiation 101 – understand where your counterpart is coming from. If you do not understand for yourself, then you need the kind of social science expert who does

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