How to turn Brexit’s devastating impacts into opportunities?



By Jules Dorlin

SKEMA Business School

Paris or Lille, France



Brexit will take place by March 2019 and deeply impact project management contracts. Thus, as it is an important part of any project managers’ job to plan and limit the risks that could negatively impact the project, visualize Brexit’s possible specific scenarios to develop the most adapted responses shows crucial advantages to face this unique situation. The main purpose of the research is to demonstrate the effectiveness of this method and the positives impacts it provides to project management. The paper ran a literature review of Brexit’s possible impacts on contracts based on recent research. Then, the paper highlights different behavior project managers can adopt to answer to this situation. Finally, the paper analysis the possible solutions and which one of them provides the best performances to project management. The results have shown that visualizing Brexit’s possible specific scenarios to develop the most adapted responses considerably reduces risks for project management.

Keywords:  Brexit – Impact – Commercial Contract – Forecast



A referendum was held on Thursday 23 June 2016, to decide whether the United Kingdom will remain a member of the European Union or if it will leave it. “With a turnout reaching 71.8%, the leave won by 51,9% to 48,1%”.[1] These results triggered the first step of a long-term negotiating process planned to last several years. Do you know that contracts will get impacted by Brexit and that it is crucial to anticipate the potential outcomes to stay keep businesses safe after the United Kingdom leaves the European Union?

By March 2019, the United Kingdom won’t be part of the European Union anymore. Among the multitudes of treaties, bilateral and multilateral contracts that are going to be renegotiated, there are some commercial contract clauses that are going to be impacted. It appears that the United Kingdom will lose more than 750 international arrangements and will have to renegotiate many of them. Businesses between the United Kingdom and the European Union were highly facilitated by common treaties. Project managers from both the European Union and the United Kingdom will observe an impact on their contract’s clauses.

Most companies are already preparing themselves for this important event and are trying to forecast the potential impact Brexit will have on their contracts. Additionally, Brexit is a lesson to all project managers all over the world: “As a project manager, this is a chance you can’t afford to take. Even when you’re absolutely certain something won’t happen, always have a back-up plan ready just in case that “impossible” thing comes to pass”[2]

DIAGRAM 1. Brexit potential impact on contracts.[3]

Contractors from both the United Kingdom and the European Union must anticipated the impact caused by Brexit on major clauses and define strategic solutions if they want to stay efficient and profitable. Few major clauses are already identified and should trigger contractor’s attention such as contract pricing, DATA protection clauses which depend on whether a country is part of the European Union or not, compliance obligation especially regarding licenses but also dispute resolution clauses which are crucial in this very complex situation.

By the end of this research, we should be able to take the right decisions about post Brexit contracts especially about specifics clauses: contract pricing, DATA protection, compliance obligations and Governing Law and dispute resolution. This paper will focus on potential solutions for all these clauses and enable project managers to anticipate Brexit’s impact on these clauses.


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Editor’s note: Student papers are authored by graduate or undergraduate students based on coursework at accredited universities or training programs.  This paper was prepared as a deliverable for the course “International Contract Management” facilitated by Dr Paul D. Giammalvo of PT Mitratata Citragraha, Jakarta, Indonesia as an Adjunct Professor under contract to SKEMA Business School for the program Master of Science in Project and Programme Management and Business Development.  http://www.skema.edu/programmes/masters-of-science. For more information on this global program (Lille and Paris in France; Belo Horizonte in Brazil), contact Dr Paul Gardiner, Global Programme Director [email protected].

How to cite this paper: Author Dorlin, J. (2019). How to turn Brexit’s devastating impacts into opportunities? PM World Journal, Vol. VIII, Issue I (January).  Available online at https://pmworldjournal.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/pmwj78-Jan2019-Dorlin-how-to-turn-brexit-impacts-into-opportunities.pdf


About the Author

Jules Dorlin

Paris, France




 Jules Dorlin is a French Business Student at SKEMA Business school in Paris. He spent more than a year in Asia (India, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos) to discover new cultures and learn to think differently. He keeps a close connection with foreign countries which are the foundation of his open-mindedness. After getting his bachelor’s degree in business administration within a one-year apprenticeship program, he had the opportunity to keep working as a salesman or to join a French Business School. He decided to join SKEMA Business School in 2017 to improve his problem-solving skills and general knowledge of business. After an entire semester in Raleigh, North Carolina, he has most recently enrolled in a master’s degree at SKEMA Business School pursuing the specialization “MSc Project and Program Management & Business Development”. He will then pursue his studies in Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSR) to complete his theorical background before entering the labor market.

Jules can be contacted at [email protected] or on LinkedIn.


[1]  EU Referendum Results. (2018, October). Retrieved from https://www.bbc.com/news/politics/eu_referendum/results

[2] EU Referendum Results. (2018, October). Retrieved from https://www.bbc.com/news/politics/eu_referendum/results

[3] By author