Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

European Union (Withdrawal) Bill

The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, previously known as the ‘Great Repeal Bill’, passed its second reading in the House of Commons on the 11 September 2017. MPs will next consider the Bill in a Committee of the whole House on a date yet to be announced.

Summary of Key Points of the Bill

The Bill sets out the power to repeal the European Communities Act 1972 and make other provisions in connection with the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union. The European Communities Act will be repealed on the day the UK exits from the EU. This means that EU institutions can no longer make laws affecting the UK. It returns to Parliament sole power to make laws in policy areas where before the EU had or shared these powers. The Bill will apply to every country in the UK and specific sections of it will also include Gibraltar.

The Bill is designed to give legal continuity during Brexit by copying over all EU law to the UK post Brexit. EU-derived legislation which has effect in the UK domestic law immediately before the day the UK leaves the EU will continue to have effect in domestic law on and after exit day. Such retained EU laws can be changed, replaced or repealed by the UK Parliament, as necessary after exit day; so as to ensure it works effectively outside the EU.

Clause 4 of the Bill further ensures that any rights, powers, liabilities, obligations, restrictions, remedies and procedures which are recognised and available in domestic law under the European Communities Act 1972 before exit day and are enforced, allowed and followed accordingly, will also continue to be recognised and available in domestic law on and after exit day.

Clause 6 of the Bill sets out how retained EU law is to be read and interpreted on and after exit day.

  • the decisions of the European Court of Justice (CJEU) made after exit day will not be binding on UK domestic courts and tribunals
  • domestic courts cannot refer cases to the CJEU on or after exit day: and
  • domestic courts are not required to have regard to anything done by the EU or an EU entity on or after exit day.


For further Information see

European Union (Withdrawal) Bill

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