On 22nd September, the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill 2022 was presented to Parliament. ‘The Bill’ seeks to provide a domestic law basis for amending or revoking the ‘retained EU laws’. Those which do make it into UK domestic law will lose the term ‘retained EU law’ and will be known as ‘assimilated laws’ whereas any that don’t will be repealed (i.e., lost).
This exercise of revoking or amending must be completed by 31st December 2023 which although seems some time away, is actually very tight, considering there are over 2400 retained EU laws which govern over 21 sectors of the UK economy, food and drink being just one of them. Anything that remains ‘unaddressed’ after this date will be effectively lost. We are informed that the FSA alone have 113 pieces of retained EU law – equating to 1000 individual pieces of regulation! Add to this the fact that there are resourcing issues right across the civil service and you can appreciate just how big a task this is going to be.
Bearing this in mind, the priority will undoubtedly be around preservation of what we have, certainly in the short term. And actually, many of the retained EU laws were the subject of extensive consultation before being adopted in the EU and the UK had significant input into them. So why would we want to massively change them?
Nevertheless, we are told that they will be looking at opportunities where we would like to change things perhaps making them more streamlined or more efficient. We are reassured that cross-Government department meetings are regularly taking place to understand interdependencies and ensure unilateral decisions. A full programme of work is to be developed in due course, including plans to engage with industry so as soon as we hear more on this, we will let you know. It is likely however, that any wider reforms will take us into 2026/27.
The Bill is awaiting it’s second reading in Parliament which we are told should be any time now. We will keep you updated but if you wish to follow its progress you can do so here