The changes in May 2023 saw approximately 600 pieces of legislation, rather than the 4,000 originally stated, targeted to be revoked. A list was also published by the Government, identifying these specific piece of legislation and the reasons for its removal. The link to the list is: schedule_of_retained_eu_law_to_revoke_or_sunset.ods (live.com).
Currently just over 590 items appear on the list and, according to GOV.UK, “includes a significant amount of REUL that is defunct and unnecessary now we have left the EU”. Much of the existing/remaining EU-derived domestic legislation has though seen amendment, including replacing references to the European Commission with the relevant UK minister/regulator and removing EU/EEA reciprocity.
What will happen with this retained law in the future however is still not certain. The Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Act 2023 received royal assent in June 2023 and comes into force on the 1st January 2024. The Act allows provision for change in the way courts may depart from retained EU case law, as well as the ability for government to modify existing REUL (i.e. allowing direct EU to be downgraded and so amendable by secondary legislation). It will also see a reduction of oversight, with the removal of the currently applicable parliamentary scrutiny requirements when modifying some types of EU-derived domestic secondary legislation. From 2024, retained EU law (REUL) will become known as “assimilated law”.
While, in the short term, the uncertainty over our future health, safety and environmental landscape has reduced, the future possibility of change has not. What has been very consistent though over time is our World Class health and safety performance and the levels of compliance we achieve. Perhaps that need to be part of the considerations too.