On Wednesday 29th March 2017, Prime Minister Theresa May triggered Article 50, starting the process which will officially take Britain out of the European Union (EU) in March 2019
This was shortly followed by the publishing of the Great Repeal Bill White Paper on Thursday 30th March.
This document sets out the government’s proposal for ensuring a functioning statue book once the UK has left the EU and provides details about:
- The repeal of the European Communities Act 1972;
- How EU law will be converted into UK law; and
- How corrections will be made to the statue book to ensure the law continues to function once Britain leave the EU.
Once the Great Repeal Bill is in force the UK will be an independent sovereign nation with laws made in Westminster rather than Brussels. To achieve this, the Great Repeal Bill will do three main things:
- Repeal the European Communities Act 1972 and return power to UK institutions;
- Subject to the proposals set out in the White Paper, convert EU law, as it stands at the moment of exit, into UK law before Britain leave the EU. This will allow businesses to continue operating knowing the rules have not significantly changed overnight; and
- Create power to make secondary legislation. This will enable corrections to be made to the laws that would otherwise no longer operate appropriately once Britain has left the EU.
Overall, the Great Repeal Bill aims to ensure that, as a general rule, the same rules and laws will apply after we leave the EU as they did before. Without this Bill and the conversion of EU law into domestic law the UK’s statue book would contain significant gaps.
The Great Repeal Bill: White Paper can be viewed here.
The Government have also published a guidance document which provides information to businesses about the Bill – this document can be viewed here.