European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018

Commencement: 26th June 2018

Amends: New



This Act repeals the European Communicates Act 1972 (ECA) on the day the UK leaves the European Union (29th March 2019).


Preserving and converting EU law

Directly applicable EU law (i.e. EU regulations) has effect in UK law without the need to pass specific UK implementing legislation. If no further action was taken when the ECA is revoked, this directly applicable law would cease to apply leaving gaps on the statute book.


The ECA provides ministers with powers to make secondary legislation to implement EU obligations (i.e. EU directives). If no further action was taken when the ECA is revoked, this law would cease to apply leaving gaps on the statute book.


To avoid these gaps, this Act converts the body of existing EU law in effect on exit, into domestic law and preserves the laws made in the UK to implement EU obligations once we leave the EU. After this date, EU legislation will not operate. Parliament will be able to decide which elements of that law to keep, amend or repeal.


This approach means the same rules and laws will apply on the day after we leave the EU.


Delegated powers

This Act gives the Government temporary powers to create secondary legislation to correct problems arising from the withdrawal. For example, the Government could amend UK legislation to either replace the reference to the Commission with a UK body or remove this requirement completely. 



The current devolution settlements were agreed after the UK became a member of the EU. In areas where powers have been devolved, each of the current settlements specifies that the relevant devolved instruments cannot legislate or otherwise act in a way that is incompatible with EU law.


This Act removes the requirement to legislation or otherwise to act in ways that are compatible with EU law. It maintains the current parameters of devolved competence by placing a temporary freeze on devolved legislation, allowing it to continue after exit.


A process will begin to remove the arrangements for freezing devolved competence, and regulations will be introduced to continue the ongoing framework or they may be revoked.


Link to full government text


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