Call for evidence launched on retained EU law reform
A government Committee has launched a call for evidence about the future of REUL reform.
Following our update on 15 October 2023 which considered the further changes being made to retained EU law (“REUL”), the European Scrutiny Committee (“the Committee”) has launched an Inquiry on 22 November 2023 focusing on further progress to be made to REUL.
So far, since the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Act (“the Act”) was granted Royal Assent on 29 June 2023, a schedule of REUL to sunset at the end of 2023 has been published and numerous Statutory Instruments proposing changes to REUL have been laid before Parliament. However, there are only approximately 600 pieces of REUL contained in Schedule A which leaves the future reform of an additional 5022 further pieces of REUL (listed on the Government’s tracker) to be considered.
During the passage of the Act, Government promised to be accountable to the Committee on a six monthly basis. In line with this, the Committee has launched a call for evidence about the future of REUL reform. The questions being asked include:
- What progress has Government made on reform of REUL?
- How should Government approach the mechanics of REUL reform?
- What regard should be given to political level ownership and whether there should be a senior Minister appointed to act as REUL ‘Tsar’
- What should Parliamentary scrutiny look like?
- What regard should be given to working with the devolved administrations?
- Should there be engagement with experts and affected businesses?
It is clear from the Committee’s Inquiry executive summary that its focus is not only on what has already been achieved, but the direction of Government’s REUL reform. The aim of the Act was to return sovereignty to the UK’s statute book and judicial system - to have such a significant amount of REUL yet to be reformed certainly raises questions around the progress of this aim.
The piecemeal approach, the number of REUL and the differing approaches between Westminster and the devolved administrations to REUL reform will no doubt continue to cause concerns and uncertainty. What will reform of significant pieces of REUL deliver? How will such changes be absorbed by not only the judiciary but also business?
The call for evidence is scheduled to close on 5 February 2024 but in the meantime we will continue to monitor both this and further Statutory Instruments being laid.
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