Retained EU Law Bill – HRC Briefing
October 27, 2022
The Consortium recently shared our briefing on the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill with MPs in advance of the second reading of the Bill in the House of Commons on the 25th of October.
Unfortunately, the Bill continues in what is now a well-worn pattern of attempts to undermine existing standards of protections and human rights. If enacted the Bill will have wide-ranging implications for the legal system and the maintenance of rights and standards across the UK.
It contains numerous proposals to enable Government to more easily remove, replace, and update Retained EU Law (REUL) without parliamentary scrutiny, while placing the entire spectrum of retained law under a sunset clause which would cause it to expire at the end of 2023 unless preserved by a UK Government Minister.
In summary, our concerns with the Bill are as follows:
- The Government has not yet conducted a full and comprehensive assessment of the Retained EU Law (REUL) currently on the statute books, and further has failed to analyse which of these areas of REUL interact with or impact on the commitments made in Article 2(1) of the Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland, or on the level playing field provisions of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA).
- The removal of key frameworks for interpreting retained EU laws and settlement agreement legislation, including EU General Principles (Clause 5) and retained EU case law (Clause 7), may have an impact on the Protocol Article 2(2) ‘keeping pace’ commitment.
- The Bill will cause a significant amount of legal and regulatory uncertainty for businesses, environmental governance, workers, and many other individuals across the UK, both due to the potential cliff edge of rights and regulations at the end of 2023 and the deeply convoluted legislative framework this Bill would establish around retained/assimilated law.
- A myriad of wide-ranging powers are either shared between UK and devolved Ministers or reserved for UK Ministers, including in areas of devolved competence. Further, the power to preserve REUL past 2023 is reserved for UK ministers, despite many of the regulations affected by the sunset clause falling within areas of devolved competence. This represents another marked overreach and has the potential to severely undermine the devolution settlement.
You can find our full briefing to MPs covering these initial concerns available to download below.Tags: EU, law, retained eu law, REUL, rights, standards, westminster