Q&As

What is retained EU law?

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Produced in partnership with Mathias Cheung of Atkin Chambers
Published on LexisPSL on 28/02/2019

The following Public Law Q&A Produced in partnership with Mathias Cheung of Atkin Chambers provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • What is retained EU law?
  • Statutory definition of retained EU law
  • Exclusions and transitional arrangements
  • Retained EU case law
  • Note on exit day
  • Further reading

Retained EU law is a legal concept describing EU-derived legislation, rights and principles the UK plans to preserve in UK law after Brexit. It is a defined term under the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (EU(W)A 2018).

There is no specific list of EU legislation within the scope of the statutory definition of retained EU law. It is a matter of statutory interpretation.

Statutory definition of retained EU law

In order to work out what qualifies as retained EU law and what is excluded therefrom, the first reference point is sections 2 to 7 of the EU(W)A 2018.

EU(W)A 2018, s 6(7) defines retained EU law as ‘anything which, on or after exit day, continues to be, or forms part of, domestic law by virtue of section 2, 3 or 4’. In other words, this body of retained law includes:

  1. EU-derived domestic legislation, as it has effect in domestic law immediately before exit day

  2. direct EU legislation (including EU regulations, EU decisions, EU tertiary legislation, Annexes to the EEA agreement, and Protocol 1 to the EEA agreement) so far as operative immediately before exit day

  3. any rights, powers, liabilities, obligations, restrictions, remedies and procedures which, immediately before exit day, are recognised and available in domestic law by virtue of section 2(1) of the European Communities Act 1972 (ECA 1972), and are enforced, allowed and followed accordingly

EU Directives per

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