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Revocation and Reform Bill makes its way through parliament

On Thursday 22nd of September 2022, the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill was finally brought before parliament. This landmark bill states that all retained EU laws will end as part of the sunset clause, on the 31st December 2023.

What is being proposed?

As a result of the UK’s exit from the European Un-ion in 2020, the UK government will end the spe-cial status of all retained EU law by the end of 2023, under the new bill proposals.

What will happen?

The new bill will allow the UK government three options for dealing with retained EU law.

  • Restate - EU laws may be restated and re-written as UK law.
  • Repeal - EU laws may be repealed com-pletely, with no UK alternative to take their place.
  • Replace - EU laws may be replaced by amended UK versions that do not have to be interpreted in line with the EU. The bill states that any replacements “must not in-crease regulatory burden” however.
  • Restate - EU laws may be restated and re-written as UK law.

If none of the above actions are taken on a re-tained EU law by the end of December 2023, then the sunset clause will come into force and the law will cease to exist.

As a result of this bill, the UK government will be able to create their own regulations independent-ly , and tailor them to specific UK needs.

What does this mean?

The government announcement outlined some of the key objectives and aims that they hope to result from the bill:

  • New visa routes and points-based immigration systems - this may mean that more individuals are hired from countries outside of the EU
  • Laws made and scrutinised within the UK, with no EU influence - this may have an impact on areas of law and rights which are currently heavily influenced by the EU (such as workers rights and environmental protec-tions)
  • New free trade deals - Australia and New Zealand have recently signed trade deals and over 70 more coun-tries are on the priority list. This may mean that more individuals are hired from these countries specifically.
  • Making it tougher for EU criminals to enter the UK - EU nationals who have been sentenced to one year or more in prison, will now be refused entry to the UK.

To read the full government announcement, please click here.

What are the risks?

The UK is already able to remove EU laws, however currently, this may only take place through a strictly defined process - this new bill aims to streamline and speed up this process dramatically, by lessening the amount of parlia-mentary scrutiny required.

As part of this process, there is no requirement for public consultation over any changes, therefore there are con-cerns that there could be considerable legislative changes made to areas of retained EU law such as workers rights, environmental protections and consumer rights, with little room for debate or push-back from the people affected.

The deadline of December 31st 2023 is not far away, and it remains to be seen how this bill will affect UK organisa-tions and relations with the EU going forward, but it is certainly one to stay informed about.

The Advisory Bureau will continue to monitor the progress of this bill through parliament and provide relevant up-dates where necessary.

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