Brexit: recent developments

Withdrawal Bill

On 13 July 2017 the Repeal Bill - now called the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill - was introduced into the House of Commons and has had its first and second readings. The Bill will next be considered in a Committee of the whole House on a date which has not yet been announced.

This bill will:

  • repeal the European Communities Act 1972 on the day the UK formally leaves the EU
  • convert EU law as it stands at the moment of exit into UK law before the UK leaves the EU, so that the first day following exit does not place the UK in a legal vacuum
  • create powers to make secondary legislation, including temporary powers to allow corrections to be made to laws that would otherwise no longer operate appropriately once the UK has left the EU and to implement a withdrawal agreement, and
  • maintain the current scope of devolved decision-making powers in areas currently governed by EU law.

There will also be other bills relating to the customs regime, trade policy, immigration, fisheries, agriculture, nuclear safeguards and international sanctions.

See The Repeal Bill: A profound change to the English legal system for an outline of the key provisions of the Withdrawal Bill as they stand; looking at the timing of the Bill and how it will convert the Acquis into English law. We identify challenges that all lawyers will face on 01 April 2019 and some unanswered questions.

Brexit negotiations

The EU expects the negotiations to take place in three phases: withdrawal, future relationship and the transition phase. The Brexit negotiations on the withdrawal phase started on 19 June 2017. The second, third and fourth rounds of negotiations were in July, August and September respectively. On 03 October 2017, the European Parliament adopted a non- legislative resolution noting that it did not believe that sufficient progress had yet been made on the three key issues of: citizens’ rights, the UK’s financial settlement and the Republic of Ireland/Northern Ireland border. Sufficient progress was needed in the fifth round of talks (held on 09-12 October 2017) on these issues for Michael Barnier to recommend to the European Council, at a meeting on 19-20 October 2017, to begin discussions on the future relationship phase.