The Government has also laid the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill in Parliament today.

In order to avoid leaving gaps in the UK legal system when the UK withdrew from the EU, the body of EU law in force at the end of 2020 was imported into UK law, and the UK legislation that implemented EU law was retained, under the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (with necessary amendments). This body of law is called "retained EU law".

The Bill published today follows a Government announcement in February this year that it planned to pass a Brexit-related bill to make it easier to amend or repeal "retained EU law", and end its special status (see our previous blog post here).

If passed as drafted, the Bill will:

  • Sunset retained EU law - sunset the majority of retained EU law so that it expires on 31st December 2023, unless specifically preserved. Before that date, the Government will need to review every piece of retained EU Law to determine which should be retained. The Bill includes an extension mechanism for the sunset of specified pieces of retained EU law until 2026 should it be required;
  • Modification of retained EU law - make it easier to amend retained EU law. The Bill will give ministers powers to amend retained EU law by secondary legislation;
  • End the supremacy of retained EU law - reverse the current situation that retained direct EU legislation takes priority over domestic UK legislation passed prior to Brexit (where they are incompatible); and
  • Departure from EU caselaw - give the UK courts greater discretion to depart from the body of retained EU case law.

The Bill will now proceed through the Parliamentary scrutiny and voting processes, and may become law by the end of this year.

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