The UK Government made a major U-turn in its recent decision to revoke all retained EU Law by the end of 2023.

The Retained EU Law Bill will now be amended, removing a clause that would have scrapped any EU-derived laws that hadn't already been replaced, repealed, or integrated into UK domestic law by December 2023.

This would have included the Commercial Agents (Council Directive) Regulations 1993 (the Regulations).

The U-turn appears to be a result of pressure from opposing parties and concerns that the tight deadline would not give the relevant departments enough time to thoroughly review all the laws set to be axed, essentially leading to vital legislation being revoked without properly considering the consequences.

The most recent updates to EU-derived legislation

The Government has since announced that rather than revoking all EU-derived legislation, it will instead focus on a targeted list of 600 pieces of legislation which are expected to be revoked in accordance with the Retained EU Law Bill.

The default position is that all other legislation not on the targeted list will be retained as UK Law.

Crucially, the EU Commercial Agents Directive (Council Directive 86/653/EEC), from which the Regulations are derived, is not on the Government's targeted list.

Therefore it appears the Regulations will be retained as UK law, providing much-needed comfort to commercial agents that the current rights and protections afforded by the Regulations will continue to apply.

Protection for commercial agents

The Regulations provide protection to commercial agents, affording them various rights, including the right to claim compensation pursuant to Regulation 17 upon termination of their agency.

Accordingly, news that the Regulations could have been scrapped sparked significant concern and uncertainty for commercial agents.

Commercial agents are advised to keep a close eye on developments since the Government has confirmed it will continue to review retained EU law and make changes where necessary.

We will report further on these matters as more developments unfold.

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