In September 2021, the UK government initiated a review of the retained EU laws [Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill] to determine the extent of their presence across departments, policy sectors, and the economy. To date, over 4,900 EU laws have been identified, and more than 700 of these fall within the scope of the Department for Transport.
The government has proposed the REUL Bill to facilitate these changes. You may have heard that the government declared its intentions last year to address the repeal of EU law following Brexit using a process known as “sunset” In simple terms, this would have resulted in any EU laws not specifically mentioned as retained or reformed losing their legal significance for application in the UK by the end of 2023. Given the significant number of laws and regulations originating from the EU, this task is formidable. PACTS raised concerns about the risk of unintentionally revoking important laws that could slip through the cracks without appropriate parliamentary scrutiny.
On 10 May 2023, the government backtracked on this approach. Instead of automatically repealing EU legislation, it will now only abolish those laws specifically identified and enumerated by the government. This reversal is encouraging in terms of providing clarity about which laws will be rescinded. PACTS eagerly awaits the publication of the list. It is essential to have sufficient time to review the affected legislation and consider the repercussions.