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(1) the 1972 European Communities Act (that gives authority for EU law in the UK) is repealed on exit day – exit day is 29th March 2019 at 11pm – the section providing for this repeal is not commenced on Royal Assent – a further Commencement Order is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

UK exits EU (environmental principles & governance)

A major role carried out by the European Court is oversight of the enforcement of European Union Treaty principles embodied in EU environmental law.

The UK authorities had announced a new body would be set up to replace the role of the European Court in this respect.

This morning, the consultation document is announced for this new body (applicable to England only). This document is here. Consultation lasts until 2 August.

The new body will be established by the Environmental Principles and Governance Bill (a Brexit bill – England) that will be brought forward in the Autumn. The consultation addresses the development of this Bill.

The consultation seeks input on some of the key questions around how environmental principles should be embedded into law, public policy-making and delivery, and what functions and powers the new environmental watchdog should have to oversee environmental law and policy.  The consultation document is set out in three parts:

Part 1 – Environmental Principles

Part 2 – Accountability for the Environment

Part 3 – Overall Environmental Governance

NOTE : this post will be UPDATED when the UK authorities respond to the consultation. If you are interested in developments, please make a note to return to this post in the Blog, a separate alert will not be sent out.

EU (Withdrawal) Bill 2017-2019 (Days 1 & 2)

UPDATE : UK Government fact sheets are here.

The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill (EUW Bill – UK law) will repeal the instrument that puts EU law into UK domestic law (the UK European Communities Act 1972) and create a new class of UK domestic law termed ‘retained EU law‘.

Subscribers to Cardinal Environment EHS Legislation Registers and Law Checklists will see this new category appear in their Registers. First, the Brexit Law will be corralled into a single area accessed on the top right (Environment, and Occupational Health & Safety).

The EUW Bill is at the House of Commons Committee stage, an important stage when amendments are considered.

Day 1 of the considerations was yesterday. This considered amendments to Clause 1 and Clause 6 of the Bill.

Day 2 is today. This will consider Clauses 2, 3 and 4 (the EU retained law itself).

Clause 1 repeals the 1972 European Communities Act. No changes were agreed.

Clause 6 addresses the role of the Court of Justice of the European Union (often referred to as the European Court of Justice) after exit day. No changes were agreed.

UPDATE : Clauses 2, 3 and 4. No changes were agreed, Clause 4 was agreed.

Clause 6 (Interpretation of retained EU law) says :

6 Interpretation of retained EU law

A court or tribunal—

(a)  is not bound by any principles laid down, or any decisions made, on or after exit day by the European Court, and

(b) cannot refer any matter to the European Court on or after exit day.

A court or tribunal need not have regard to anything done on or after exit day by the European Court, another EU entity or the EU but may do so if it considers it appropriate to do so.

Any question as to the validity, meaning or effect of any retained EU law is to be decided, so far as that law is unmodified on or after exit day and so far as they are relevant to it –

(a) in accordance with any retained case law and any retained general principles of EU law, and

(b) having regard (among other things) to the limits, immediately before exit day, of EU competences.

But—

(a) Supreme Court is not bound by any retained EU case law,

(b)  the High Court of Justiciary is not bound by any retained EU case law

Etc

New 2015 Government in UK: Environment Challenges

Welcoming the new 2015 Government in the UK, here are a few of the challenges ongoing:

* Deciding on the UK input to the Paris Climate Change summit in December.

On February 14 2015 the party leaders made a joint declaration on climate change – this is here.

* Addressing Coal Power Plants that are not upgraded to meet the EU Large Combustion Plant Directive. 

* Bringing NOx in ambient air within air quality standards – my blog post on the UK Supreme Court decision is earlier.

* Providing for improved Nature and Habitat protection to mitigate and reverse recorded loss.

* Tackling persistent water pollution still being caused by some Sewage Treatment Plants – my blog post on this is earlier.