The Brexit Freedoms Bill touchpaper is lit

What matters

What matters next

After a rollercoaster of a ride, the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill has received Royal Assent and is now an Act of Parliament.

From the initial proposal of an all-singing, all-dancing automatic revocation of thousands of retained EU laws by the end of this year, to a more restrained revocation of just under 600 irrelevant or redundant laws, the Bill will not deliver the big bang that it initially promised.

However, it was subject to a thorough debate, especially when it reached the House of Lords. This culminated in a final ping-pong match between the House of Lord and the House of Commons to arrive at the final, reduced and modified text, with the House of Lords finally agreed to concede its last amendments earlier this week. Why? The House of Lords was satisfied to rely on some dispatch box commitments made by the government. These assurances include:

  • That the government would not diminish environmental protection and any major changes to the levels of environmental protection under the remit of the Bill would be subject to consultation and protection conferred by the Environment Act 2021.
  • That the process of review by special “sifting committees” would ensure that Statutory Instruments will not pass unnoticed where they need wider debate. Whilst the recommendations of the sifting committees are advisory, they are routinely followed.  
  • Where there are more significant reforms, the government will go to public consultation. 

The grant of Royal Assent isn’t the end of the story for retained EU law. It is likely that after the first wave of known revocations of obsolete and redundant laws under the Act, there will be a steady stream of other pieces of retained EU law which will be tackled.  For example, the government claims that the Financial Services and Markets Bill and the Procurement Bill, each of which will have full Parliamentary scrutiny, will revoke around a further 500 pieces of retained EU laws, but what is next on the ‘to do’ list?  We shall see…

Disclaimer

This information is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any of the information given. © Shoosmiths LLP 2024.

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