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Providing you with the latest updates and guidance on the REUL Bill 2022

House of Lords makes further amendments to the Retained EU Law Bill

The Retained EU Law Bill (“the Bill”) returned to the House of Lords yesterday for its first day in Report Stage.

Following on from our previous article the House of Lords proposed and voted on amendments to the Bill as anticipated. Whilst the House of Lords approved the amendment to the sunset clause and its removal (that all Retained EU Law (“REUL)” will not potentially lapse by the end of 2023), the House of Lords remained concerned with the lack of parliamentary scrutiny of REUL going forward. In particular:

  • Lord Hope of Craighead proposed an amendment that REUL contained in the Schedule (almost 600 pieces) subject to the sunset provision should be referred to a joint parliamentary committee. The committee would be empowered to debate and then vote on the REUL if it was believed that the removal of a particular piece of REUL would create a "significant change". If the revocation of any REUL was not approved by both Houses then it would be retained. This amendment was supported by the House of Lords.
  • Lord Anderson’s amendment to the Bill which provided that the decision as to whether retained EU rights will be retained or not rests with Parliament, jointly with the devolved administrations in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland , was also supported by the Lords. The Government had wanted to solely retain this power.

These amendments are not cast in stone however. The Bill will be debated further in the House of Lords tomorrow, 17 May 2023 and will then return to the House of Commons for consideration of the amendments from the House of Lords.

The Government have also published a list of the REUL to be revoked by the end of 2023. The REUL which has been selected for revocation appears to fall into several categories:-

  • Those laws which are no longer workable as a result of the UK leaving the EU or which relate to requirements that are no longer relevant to the UK as a stand alone country;
  • REUL which has been considered by the Civil Service and/or ministers as “contrary to the needs and requirements of the UK”.

This Bill is far from straightforward and its passage through Parliament looks fraught with difficulties. Whilst the House of Lords are proposing certain amendments, the Government are determined to deliver on their promise to revoke REUL and regain UK parliamentary sovereignty.

We will continue to update you on the Bill as developments unravel, specifically on those pieces of REUL which may sunset at the end of 2023,  but in the meantime, please don’t hesitate to get in touch if we can assist at

Is it really a U-turn or just gentle application of the brakes ? Implications of the Government’s amendment to the Retained EU Law Bill

This update was first published 11.05.23

Yesterday saw the announcement by Kemi Badenoch, Business and Trade Secretary, of the amendments being tabled to the Retained EU Law (Reform and Revocation) Bill (“the Bill”) for debate in the House of Lords on Monday 15 May 2023 (the Report Stage).

The Bill, which was introduced in September 2022, proposed that all Retained EU Law (“REUL”) would lapse by 31 December 2023 (the sunset clause) unless it had been preserved or assimilated into UK law. This caused considerable concern for business and industry as not only had all REUL not been identified, it was uncertain which REUL would remain or would fall into the abyss.

It came as a welcome relief yesterday when Government announced that the sunset clause would be removed for the end of 2023 and instead, a list of approximately 600 pieces of REUL would replace it. This is in addition to the 500 pieces of REUL being revoked through the Financial Services and Markets Bill and the Procurement Bill. However, this is not the time to sit back. The Government has stated that:

“We will retain the vitally important powers in the Bill that allow us to continue to amend EU laws, so more complex regulation can still be revoked or reformed after proper assessment and consultation”.

In effect, whilst the intention is to remove the sunset clause, the power to remove the remaining REUL after 2023 will stay in the hands of Ministers and the civil service. Could we, therefore, see individual pieces of REUL revoked at very short notice after 31 December 2023?

Whilst the proposed removal of the sunset clause provides some certainty in terms of it not being the end of 2023, the uncertainty around the power to revoke further REUL together with the lack of identification of all REUL remains. As at today, the Government’s updated tracker identifies 4829 pieces of REUL which has grown considerably since the initial tracker was launched showing 2,400 pieces. However, there can be no doubt that the Government wants to reinstate the supremacy of UK law as is evidenced by the statement from Kemi Badenoch:

“We will still fully take back control of our laws and end the supremacy and special status of retained EU law by the end of 2023. We will also make our laws fit for UK purposes: reducing the regulatory burden and controlling the flow of new regulation. We will no longer tie business up in red tape.”

It is also of interest that the Government has indicated the direction of their travel in the review of REUL. Their priority appears to focus on employment laws, which is no real surprise given that the vast majority of the employment laws which we currently operate originate from the UK’s time in the EU. Kemi Badenoch said:

“As part of this drive for deregulation, today I can announce that we will make improvements to employment law which could help save businesses around £1 billion a year, while safeguarding the rights of workers. We will consult on cutting unnecessary red tape on recording working hours, streamline engagement with workers when a business transfers to new owners, and provide up to 5 million UK workers greater freedom to switch jobs by limiting non-compete clauses.”

So whilst some certainty has been provided, it must be remembered that this is a proposed amendment to the Bill which is yet to be debated. We will be watching the House of Lords Report Stage carefully and will provide further updates as the Bill continues its progress through its parliamentary journey. Additionally, the implications of the loss of those 600 or so pieces of selected legislation will still need to be carefully considered.

The Retained EU Law Bill, if it receives Royal Assent, could have far reaching implications for domestic law

This update was first published 12.04.23

The Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill (“the Bill”) was introduced to the House of Commons in September 2022. It has passed through the House of Commons and is waiting for Report Stage in the House of Lords.

The Bill follows on from The European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (“the Withdrawal Act”) which came into effect on 31 December 2020 (the end of the Brexit transition period) and effectively took all EU legislation that still applied to the UK on 31 December 2020 and incorporated it onto the UK statute book. The incorporated EU laws were named “retained EU law” (“REUL”). This was to preserve the status quo. However, the UK Government never intended for REUL to remain on the UK statute book indefinitely and the Bill is the next step.

There are currently more than 3,700 pieces of REUL. A dashboard has been compiled by UK Government showing the list of retained EU laws.

Put simply, the Bill proposes (amongst other matters) that all REUL will lapse by 31 December 2023 unless it has been preserved or assimilated into UK law. In other words, unless it has been amended or preserved, it will drop from the UK statute book. This raises concerns as the Government have only reviewed 17% of all REUL and there remains in excess of 3000 pieces of REUL to review before the end of this year.

Government departments are required to take positive action in determining which REUL is suitable to expire or be preserved. As the proposed end date is only eight months away, it would be surprising if the relevant Government departments will be equipped and able to review all REUL under their jurisdiction to establish whether it should remain on the UK statute book.

A significant amount of regulatory standards have been incorporated into the UK’s domestic legislation. There are many current UK laws that have arisen from EU entrenchment:

  • Workers’ rights
  • The environment
  • Food standards
  • Health and safety
  • Aviation safety
  • Data privacy
  • Consumer rights

REUL relating to tax, specifically VAT, excise and customs duty will be dealt with separately under the Finance Bill.

This Bill, if it receives Royal Assent, could have far reaching implications for domestic law if certain pieces of REUL are not incorporated into domestic legislation. At this stage it is impossible to know, with certainty, what legal changes will result from the Bill, but we are currently considering the outstanding REUL and will be providing further updates as the Government departments continue their review.

For more information on the topic or any other issues concerning REUL you would like to discuss with us, you can email our dedicated team at