Introduction to retained EU law
Produced in partnership with Dr. Kieran Laird of Gowling WLG
Introduction to retained EU law

The following Public Law practice note produced in partnership with Dr. Kieran Laird of Gowling WLG provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Introduction to retained EU law
  • What is retained EU law?
  • How is retained EU law defined?
  • EU-derived domestic legislation
  • Direct EU legislation
  • Saving for certain rights etc recognised under ECA 1972 s 2(1)
  • Summary of inclusions and exclusions
  • Publication of retained EU law
  • Retained case law
  • Modification of retained EU law
  • More...

This Practice Note provides an introduction to retained EU law. It provides an overview of the key definitions and concepts with reference to the relevant provisions of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (EU(W)A 2018).

Examination of broader provisions of the EU(W)A 2018, and the particular arrangements and variations for the UK devolved administrations, is beyond the scope of this Practice Note. Assessment of specific instruments, provisions or rights etc (as to whether or not they are retained) is also out of scope.

What is retained EU law?

Retained EU law is a legal concept describing EU-derived rights and legislation preserved by UK law after the end of the Brexit transition period. It is a defined term under the EU(W)A 2018, and the collective term given to the body of EU-derived laws preserved and converted into domestic UK law when the repeal of the European Communities Act 1972 (ECA 1972) came into full effect.

Originally, retained EU law was intended to take effect on the day the UK ceased to be a Member State of the EU (exit day, 11 pm on 31 January 2020). This was amended by the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020 (EU(WA)A 2020), in order to reflect the transitional arrangements in the Withdrawal Agreement agreed between the UK and EU.

Under the transitional arrangements in the Withdrawal Agreement, the UK continued to be treated

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