In September 2022 the UK government introduced the “Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill” (“the Bill”) which aims at amending, repealing or replacing retained EU law that, in the government’s view, “is no longer fit for the UK”. A revised version of the Bill was then issued in January 2023 (which we reported on here https://www.corderycompliance.com/uk-eu-rrb-dp-0223/).
Where are things at now?
The Bill recently went through the so-called Committee Stage in the House of Lords after the so-called Second Reading and the committee issued an amended version of the Bill.
Many amendments were proposed during the committee proceedings, including proposals to take a sectoral approach to the so-called “sunset” clause, but these were rejected. A number of (government) amendments did make it though.
The Bill still retains its core elements including the following two major dates:
- retained EU law will be revoked as of 31 December 2023 (the “sunset date”),
- which can be extended until 23 June 2026, for some, but not all, retained EU law.
Further developments about which of the many EU-derived laws the government is considering retaining are still awaited.
The Bill will next be considered at the so-called Report Stage, currently scheduled for 19 April (2023). During the report stage detailed examination of the Bill will continue. After this, a further version of the Bill should be issued, with agreed amendments. The Bill is then supposed to move to the so-called Third Reading where the House of Lords would discuss and possibly further amend the Bill. The legislative procedure then starts to get close to the end.
The recent debates about the Bill in the House of Lords have been quiet fiery and parts of the UK press have been heavily critical of the Bill. The government is very keen to see the Bill adopted and there is a realistic chance of this happening late spring or early summer this year 2023.
To say that this is a radical piece of legislation is an understatement at best. There is the distinct possibility that vast areas of EU-derived law will disappear leaving gaps, which could create much legal uncertainty. If however common-sense prevails, the different powers to preserve, restate, replicate, revoke, replace and update parts of retained EU law could be used extensively before the end of the sunset period.
Nevertheless, given the potential enormity of the impact of the Bill, organizations should follow developments very closely – the disappearance of certain EU-derived legislation could have very significant consequences for compliance.
We write about compliance issues here: https://www.corderycompliance.com/news/.
The latest version of the Bill (i.e. with the House of Lords committee amendments) can be found here: https://bills.parliament.uk/bills/3340/publications.
For more details and the list of retained EU law see the UK government’s “Retained EU Law Dashboard” here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/retained-eu-law-dashboard.
For more information please contact Jonathan Armstrong or André Bywater who are lawyers with Cordery in London where their focus is on compliance issues.
|Jonathan Armstrong, Cordery, Lexis House, 30 Farringdon Street, London, EC4A 4HH||André Bywater, Cordery, Lexis House, 30 Farringdon Street, London, EC4A 4HH|
|Office: +44 (0)207 075 1784||Office: +44 (0)207 075 1785|