Q&As

Do the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 provisions on ambulatory references apply to contracts?

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Produced in partnership with Kieran Laird, Director and Head of Constitutional Affairs of Gowling WLG
Published on LexisPSL on 12/03/2019

The following Commercial Q&A produced in partnership with Kieran Laird, Director and Head of Constitutional Affairs of Gowling WLG provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Do the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 provisions on ambulatory references apply to contracts?
  • What is retained EU law?
  • What is an ambulatory reference?
  • Do ambulatory references apply to contracts?

What is retained EU law?

EU law takes effect in the UK through the European Communities Act 1972 (ECA 1972). ECA 1972 will be repealed by section 1 of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (EU(W)A 2018) on ‘exit day’. Exit day is defined in EU(W)A 2018, s 20 as 11 pm on 29 March 2019.

For the purposes of legal continuity, the government wishes to preserve, as far as possible, the legal position which exists immediately before exit day by taking a snapshot of all of the EU law that directly applies in the UK at that point and bringing it within the UK's domestic legal framework as a new category of law—retained EU law.

EU(W)A 2018 also provides powers for the government and devolved legislatures to amend retained EU law through statutory instruments (SIs) to ensure that it operates effectively after Brexit.

What is an ambulatory reference?

An ‘ambulatory reference’ is a re

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