European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (UK)

This is my second post in a few days. I updated my earlier post online. I’m posting again, because this post will be emailed to you (and it contains additional information).

The Act received Royal Assent on 26th June 2018, and today (27th June) the Explanatory Notes are published – here.

In due course, I will compile this Act, together with the other Brexit Acts, as Brexit Acts (not Brexit Bills) and Statutory Instruments, linked on the top right of the index page to the Cardinal Environment ENV Legislation Registers, and also on the top right of the index page of the Cardinal Environment OHS Legislation Registers.

Only when the many Brexit Acts and Statutory Instruments are enacted, and it’s clear how the statute base is being affected, will the laws be input into the Registers.

A couple of things to note :

(1) the 1972 European Communities Act (that gives authority for EU law in the UK) is repealed on exit day – exit day is 29th March 2019 at 11pm – the section providing for this repeal is not commenced on Royal Assent – a further Commencement Order is required (this will be published),

(2) existing domestic legislation (what I call local legislation) which implements EU law obligations is termed ‘EU-derived domestic legislation’, and is also referred to in the Explanatory Notes as ‘preserved legislation’,

[I had a plan to denote EU-derived domestic legislation in the Cardinal Environment EHS Registers, but this will clutter the Registers]

EU-derived domestic legislation will remain on the statute base after the UK leaves the EU. This includes legislation that is passed or made but not yet in force on exit day.

(3) EU legislation in force before exit day that sets out forward dates, is incorporated into domestic law, and those dates stand. This is section 3 of the Act.

Per the Explanatory Notes –

87  Under section 3, direct EU legislation is only converted and incorporated into domestic law “so far as operative immediately before exit day”. Subsection (3) clarifies what this means. The default position in section 3(3)(c) is that direct EU legislation is operative if it is in force immediately before exit day. However, some EU legislation applies in a staggered way over time, and the Act ensures that, so far as a relevant instrument has entered into force and applies before exit day, it will be converted into domestic legislation. It is only if the provision is “stated to apply” from a later time (see section 3(3)(a)), and that time falls on or after exit day, that the provision would not fall within the ambit of the section. So, where there is a stated date of application, and this date falls after exit day, the provision is not converted. This means that, provided it is not expressly stated to apply from a date falling on or after exit day, EU legislation which is in force before exit day will be converted even if it has some effect which crystallises after exit day.

(4) section 8 enables deficiencies to be corrected, I do expect a raft of new statutory instruments, and this is why I am corralling the Brexit Acts and Statutory Instruments into a single link until I understand how the existing statute base in the Registers is affected,

(5) section 16 obliges the DEFRA Secretary to publish draft legislation setting out listed environmental principles,

Per the Explanatory Notes –

171  This section requires that, six months after Royal Assent of this Act, the Secretary of State must publish draft legislation which sets out a list of environmental principles (which are listed in subsection (2)). The draft legislation must place a duty on the Secretary of State to publish a policy statement in relation to the application and interpretation of those principles which, when circumstances to be set out under the legislation apply, ministers of the Crown must have regard to in making and developing policy.

172  The draft legislation must also define environmental law and make provision for the establishment of a public authority with functions for taking proportionate enforcement action (including legal proceedings if necessary) where the authority considers that a minister of the Crown is not complying with that environmental law.

173  The duty on the Secretary of State to publish a draft Bill applies in relation to England, and to reserved matters across the rest of the UK.

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