The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill was introduced to the House of Commons and given its First Reading on Thursday 13 July 2017. The Bill repeals the European Communities Act 1972 on the day the United Kingdom leaves the EU. It ends the supremacy of EU law in UK law and converts EU law as it stands at the moment of exit into domestic law. It also creates temporary powers to make secondary legislation to enable corrections to be made to the laws (described as "retained EU law") that would otherwise no longer operate appropriately once the UK has left, so that the domestic legal system continues to function correctly outside the EU. The Bill also enables domestic law to reflect the content of a withdrawal agreement under Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union once the UK leaves the EU.
That, on the face of it, is what the Bill is intended to achieve. But its implementation will be far from simple; as the Financial Times put it recently, "The devils are now diving into and swimming joyously in the detail". Whilst necessary for the implementation of an orderly Brexit, the Bill raises profound constitutional concerns for the UK as a whole as well as for the Devolved Nations. It will also have equally significant implications for the regulation of the UK commercial sector.
As the FT put it: “The EU contains dozens of regulatory regimes and schemes of mutual recognition and equivalence, with complex information flows … across all 28 member states and sometimes other countries. The relevant law and policy is dynamic and not linear. It cannot be replicated in any repeal bill, great or small, but needs to be painstakingly recreated in discrete new legal regimes with resource-intensive attention to detail.” There is hardly a sector in the UK that will not be affected. Among those that will be most profoundly affected are financial services, aerospace, pharmaceuticals, energy, transport and environmental services.
City & Financial Global is therefore organising the EU Withdrawal Bill Summit, which will take place in central London on 21st November. The event will provide an overview of the political and legal concerns with the Bill, as well as a comprehensive analysis of the practical implications for UK businesses, including an assessment of how businesses can influence the content of the Bill, and the content of delegated legislation which may affect the regulation of their sector. The event will also consider the business implications of the Immigration Bill and International Sanctions Bill, two of the eight pieces of proposed Brexit legislation with enormous impact for business.