Retained EU law becomes assimilated UK law at the end of 2023

The status of the EU law retained by the UK since Brexit changes at the end of 2023, what effect will it have for you and your organisation?

The Compliance People consultant Matt Peers looks at the upcoming changes brought about by the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Act 2023.

Following the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union in 2016 there has been much debate and concern about how this would affect the thousands of pieces of legislation which originated from the EU and its associated impacts. The Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Act 2023 was passed on 29th June 2023 and provides clarity on the future of retained EU law in the UK.

Revocation of EU law

The Government’s finalised plans confirm that much of the UK’s domestic legislation and direct legislation incorporated from the EU will continue to apply, with just 587 laws being revoked in full or part at the end of 2023. The vast majority of laws which will be revoked are either duplicates, no longer applicable, or expired. As such, the revocation will have little impact to most individuals and organisations across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. A full list of the schedule of EU law that will be revoked or sunset at the end of 2023 can be found on the Government website here.

Retained EU law (assimilated law)

At the end of 2023 all EU-originating law which will continue to be retained will become known as ‘assimilated law’, rather than ‘retained EU law’. Effectively these laws will become secondary UK legislation with ministers and authorities having specific powers to restate, replicate, revoke or replace EU-originating law until 23rd June 2026.

Principles of EU legislation

Wider changes at the end of 2023 include the removal of the general principles of EU law in the UK, as well as revocation of the principle of supremacy of EU law over domestic law in the UK.

The vast majority of EU-originating laws will continue to be in effect after 31st December 2023, with relatively few being revoked, providing organisations with certainty and continuity as they operate across the UK post-Brexit.