On July 13, the UK government published the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill (Bill). Introduction of the Bill follows the white paper published earlier in the year (for further information, please see the Corporate & Financial Weekly Digest edition of March 31), in which the Bill was known as the Great Repeal Bill.

The Bill would perform four main functions, if it passed as an Act of Parliament:

  • it would repeal the European Communities Act 1972 (the “conduit pipe” through which EU law becomes UK domestic law) on the day the United Kingdom leaves the European Union;
  • it would convert EU law as it stands at the moment of exit into domestic law before the United Kingdom leaves the European Union;
  • it would create powers to make secondary legislation, including temporary powers to enable corrections to be made to the laws that would otherwise no longer operate appropriately once the UK has left the EU and to implement a withdrawal agreement; and
  • it would maintain the current scope of devolved decision making powers in areas currently governed by EU law.

The Bill aims to ensure that, as a general rule, the same rules and laws will apply on the day after the UK leaves the EU as the day before. Directly applicable law, such as EU regulations, will be converted into domestic law, and pre‐exit case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union will be given the same binding, or precedent, status in UK courts as decisions of the Supreme Court.

Members of Parliament will consider and debate the Bill when they return from summer recess, although no specific date has been announced.

The Bill is available here.