The UK Government has put forward the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill to remove the ‘special features’ of EU law that remain in the UK legal system.
The Bill amends the 2018 European Union (Withdrawal) Act to make it easier for UK legislators to amend, repeal or replace retained EU law (REUL).
Since the end of the Brexit transition period, retained EU law has been a category of domestic law comprising EU-derived legislation retained and preserved within the UK legal framework under the Withdrawl Act.
The body of retined EU law can be viewed on the retained EU law dashboard, a catalogue of over 2,400 pieces of retained EU law across 300 unique policy areas and 21 sectors of the economy that was published in June 2022 following government reviews into the “substance and status of retained EU law” which started in September 2021.
Retained EU law covers most aspects of UK law that were previously derived or influenced by EU legislation, including environmental regulation, data protection, employment law, intellectual property, financial services and competition law.
The Bill seeks to abolish the ‘special status’ of retained EU law on 31st December 2023.
A statement on the Home Office website said “Retained EU Law was never intended to sit on the statute book indefinitely.”
The Bill includes the following provisions:
- Sunsetting Retained EU Law. The majority of retained EU law will expire on 31st December 2023. All retained EU law within domestic secondary legislation and retained direct EU legislation will also expire on this date, unless otherwise preserved. Any retained EU law that remains in force after the sunset date will be assimilated in the domestic statute book.
- Ending of Supremacy of retained EU law from UK law by 2023. The Bill will reinstate domestic law as the highest form of law on the UK statute book, repealing the principle of EU law supremacy.
- Assimilated law. Any retained EU law that is preserved will become ‘assimilated law’ from 31st December 2023.
- Facilitating Departures from Retained EU Case Law. The Bill will provide domestic courts with greater discretion to depart from retained case law. It will also provide new court procedures for UK and Devolved Law Officers to refer or intervene in cases regarding retained case law.
- Modification of Retained EU Legislation. Retain direct EU legislation to be amended more easily.
- Powers relating to Retained EU Law. The Bill will create powers to make secondary legislation so that retained EU law can be amended, repealed and replaced more easily. The
The Bill will now be subject to debate in both houses of parliament over the coming months.