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Committee launches inquiry on processes for reforming retained EU law

22 November 2023

Today Parliament’s European Scrutiny Committee has launched a new inquiry into the progress of reforming retained EU law (REUL).

The Committee will consider the progress and ‘mechanics’ of REUL reform, and how it can be achieved efficiently.

Retained EU law is the body of law remaining on the UK statute book that was written during our membership of the European Union that continues to apply today. In June 2023, the Government passed the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Act, which makes it easier for laws left over from the UK’s membership of the European Union to be amended, revoked, or replaced.

During the passage of the Act, the Government committed to report to the Committee on a six-monthly basis on the progress it is making towards the repeal of REUL.

Submitting evidence

The Committee welcomes written evidence on the following subjects before 17.00 on 5 February 2024. Evidence can be submitted via the Committee’s website.

  1. Are the Government’s plans for the reform of retained EU law unique in terms of scope and potential impact on the UK legal system, or have similar endeavours been undertaken in the past, whether in the UK or another jurisdiction?
    1. If examples exist, what can be learnt from these reforms which can usefully guide the development of the REUL programme?
  2. What progress has the Government made towards the reform of retained EU law?
    1. What substantive revocations of retained EU law will be made by the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Act schedule and have been made under the Act by secondary legislation?
    2. What substantive changes to retained EU law have been made other than by the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Act?
    3. Is the current pace of reform appropriate?
  3. How should the Government approach the ‘mechanics’ of reforming retained EU law?
    What regard should be given to:
      • Political-level ownership. Should the Government appoint a senior Minister to act as a REUL ‘Tsar’ with responsibility for delivery across Whitehall?
      • The political-level structures required to deliver an efficient and effective reform programme e.g. should the Government stand up a ‘Small Ministerial Group’—or similar—charged with oversight of REUL reform?
      • Working with the Devolved Administrations and structures for managing policy divergence, such as UK Common Frameworks?
      • The number of civil servants required; their skill profile e.g. policy experts, lawyers and project managers; and levels of seniority required to drive reform?
      • Structures for intra-and inter-departmental working?
      • Engagement with experts external to Government e.g. scientists with expertise in reforming technical regulation?
      • Engagement with businesses and people affected by possible reforms?
      • Parliamentary scrutiny?
      • The accessibility and clarity of the statute book?
        4. What broader principles of good governance and administration should the Government bear in mind when reforming retained EU law, including the Office for the Internal Market as outlined in section 46 of the UK Internal Market Act 2020?

Further information

Image: UK Parliament / Elspeth Keep