REUL comprises both direct EU legislation that went straight to statute and that transcribed into UK domestic legislation implemented as a result of EU law. A Government dashboard of REUL had identified “over 3,700 pieces of legislation, concentrated over 400 unique policy areas.”
This week the Government set out its plans, through the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill 2022, to enable the Government to amend more easily, repeal and replace REUL.
According to GOV.UK, “The retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill is part of the Government’s commitment to put the UK statute book on a more sustainable footing. By ending the special status of retained EU Law, we will reclaim the sovereignty of Parliament, and restore primacy to Acts of Parliament.”
The Bill currently includes the following proposals:
- To “Sunset” the majority of REUL on 31st December 2023;
- All REUL, both direct and in UK secondary legislation, will expire on this date unless it is otherwise preserved; and
- REUL remaining in force will, after the 31st December 2023, be assimilated in the UK statute book (with any features of EU Law attached to it removed).
For our profession alone, it extends to areas as diverse as, health and safety, energy and environmental management, HR/employment, consumer rights, and data protection. And with health and safety in particular cover aspects such as work at height, DSE, manual handling, PPE, and asbestos.
Concern has been expressed by several UK industry sectors and bodies about the proposals, regarding not just the overall timescale and limited parliamentary scrutiny involved, but also the uncertainty in the process and possible erosion of compliance standards.
UK health and safety performance is world-class, but by no means beyond reproach. A rushed process, resulting in an inadvertent loss of important protections will not be a good advert for the UK.
The latest government information on the Bill can be found at - The Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill 2022 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)