EU Withdrawal Act and Agreement
The European Union Withdrawal Act received royal assent in June 2018. The Explanatory Notes state that—
“The principal purpose of the Act is to provide a functioning statute book on the day the UK leaves the EU. As a general rule, the same rules and laws will apply on the day after exit as on the day before. It will then be for Parliament and, where appropriate, the devolved legislatures to make any future changes.”
The Explanatory Notes further state that the Act performs four main functions as follows—
• It repeals the European Communities Act 1972;
• It converts EU law as it stands at the moment of exit into domestic law before the UK leaves the EU and preserves laws made in the UK to implement EU obligations;
• It creates 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 (subject to the prior enactment of a statute by Parliament approving the final terms of withdrawal); and
• It removes the existing restrictions on devolved competence in relation to acting incompatibly with EU law so that decision making powers in areas currently governed by EU law will pass to the devolved institutions, except where specified in secondary legislation under this Act.
The Draft Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community was published on 14 November 2018.
The Political Declaration on the Future Relationship between the UK and the EU was approved by the European Union on 25 November 2018.
The House of Commons will have the opportunity to vote on the Draft Agreement and Political Declaration in due course.
The White Paper on Legislating for the Withdrawal Agreement between the United Kingdom and the European Union sets out how the UK Government will implement the final Withdrawal Agreement with the EU in UK law. It states that the “European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill will be introduced once the negotiations have concluded and Parliament has approved the terms of the final deal.”
The White Paper identifies a number of areas in which the implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement in domestic legislation may touch on devolved matters and confirms that “the Government will continue to follow the established practices and conventions to seek the consent of the devolved ligisatures where it is relevant to do so."
The White Paper identifies a number of areas in which the implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement in domestic legislation may touch on devolved matters and confirms that “the Government will continue to follow the established practices and conventions to seek the consent of the devolved legislatures where it is relevant to do so.”
An Adviser Briefing on the EU Withdrawal Agreement has been produced.