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Call for Evidence

Retained EU Law: Where next?

The European Scrutiny Committee has on 31 January 2022 launched an inquiry into the future of retained EU law in the context of the reviews announced by the Government. The Committee is inviting interested parties to submit relevant written evidence by 18 April. The Committee is interested to hear from a broad range of stakeholders including, but not limited to, representative bodies, lawyers, academics and thinktanks.

Retained EU law is a new and unique concept in our domestic law. It was created by the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 as a staging post to avoid the gap in the statute book that would have resulted when EU law ceased to apply to the UK on exit from the EU.

Retained EU law affects people’s daily lives. There is a significant body of retained EU law dealing with employment rights, consumer protection, health and safety and data protection. It plays a role in regulating important areas of the economy, for example, financial services and chemicals.

In September 2021, the Government  announced two reviews into retained EU law: one on substance and one on status. What happens to retained EU law is a vital and fundamental part of the re-shaping of law and regulation post-EU exit.

The Committee is therefore launching an inquiry to look at the following and other issues:

  1. In what ways is retained EU law a distinct category of domestic law? To what extent does this affect the clarity and coherence of the statute book?
  2. Is retained EU law a sustainable concept and should it be kept at all?
  3. Do the principles and concepts of EU law continue to provide an acceptable and suitable basis for legislation in post-Brexit UK?
  4. How has the concept of retained EU law worked in practice since it came into effect and what uncertainties or anomalies have arisen, or may yet arise in the future?
  5. (a) In light of the doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty, what was the rationale for retaining the principle of the ‘supremacy of EU law’? (b) What is the most effective way of removing the ‘supremacy of EU law’ and other incidents of EU law from the statute book?
  6. Should retained EU law be interpreted in the same way as other domestic law? Should the case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union have any relevance in the interpretation of retained EU law?
  7. Should a wider range of courts and tribunals have the ability to depart from retained EU case law and should it be binding at all?
  8. To what extent has retained EU law affected devolved competence?
  9. Are there issues specific to the devolved administrations and legislatures that should be taken into account as part of the Government’s reviews into retained EU law?

The Committee is inviting interested parties to submit written evidence relevant to the above. The deadline for submissions by interested parties is 18 April 2022. The Committee intends to hear in person from experts and stakeholders relevant to the different aspects of the inquiry. Evidence sessions will be announced in due course.

This call for written evidence has now closed.

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