Q&As

What are the key considerations for establishing whether a piece of direct EU legislation is within the scope of retained EU law?

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Produced in partnership with Adam Cygan of University of Leicester
Published on LexisPSL on 06/01/2021

The following Public Law Q&A produced in partnership with Adam Cygan of University of Leicester provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • What are the key considerations for establishing whether a piece of direct EU legislation is within the scope of retained EU law?
  • What are directly applicable EU laws?
  • What is retained direct EU legislation?
  • What is the legal effect of retained direct EU legislation under EU(W)A 2018, s 3?
  • Repealing retained direct EU legislation after IP completion day—the example of EU VAT regulations

What are directly applicable EU laws?

During the UK’s membership of the EU, EU legislation did not form part of the UK legal system in the same way as domestic legislation. It was given legal effect in the UK via section 2(1) of the European Communities Act 1972 (ECA 1972), which described that such legislation should have effect ‘in accordance with the EU Treaties’. This ensured that, for example, EU regulations and decisions were directly applicable and fully binding in the UK. Unlike EU directives, which were only binding as to effect and required implementation into UK law, EU regulations and decisions were directly applicable in UK law and binding on the date they came into force.

In accordance with section 1 of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (EU(W)A 2018), ECA 1972 was repealed at the point of the UK’s exit from the EU at 11 pm on 31 January 2020, (subject to certain savings and transitional arrangements necessary to give effect to the transition/implementation period agreed between the EU and the UK). The UK was no longer bound by the EU Treaties, meaning EU legislation could no longer have effect in accordance with them. But, EU(W)A 2018, s 1A was introduced to ensure that, where appropriate, EU legislation continued to have effect in the UK legal system post-exit, despite the repeal of ECA 1972.

What

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