The government has published a written statement announcing that it has tabled an amendment to the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill that removes the provision in the Bill which would have revoked almost all retained EU law at the end of 2023.

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 as first published would have automatically revoked the majority of retained EU law on 31 December 2023, unless specifically preserved (the so-called "sunset"). The amendment tabled by the government replaces the general sunset for all retained EU law with a list of the specific retained EU laws it intends to revoke.

The planned amendment to the Retained EU Law Bill does not affect the proposed reform of the UK Prospectus Regulation and Market Abuse Regulation. The Financial Services and Markets Bill, which is currently in the House of Lords, will repeal those regimes and give the FCA power to set the detailed rules on when a prospectus is required and what it should contain, and on the definition and disclosure of inside information. See our blog post here for more information.

The government has also published a policy paper which sets out some more detailed proposals for post-Brexit reform. It is largely focused on employment law issues including:

  • simplifying the rules that apply under the TUPE Regulations when a business transfers to a new owner;
  • limiting the length of non-compete clauses in employment contracts to three months; and
  • reducing the rules on recording working hours and other administrative requirements under the Working Time Regulations.

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