Agenda item

Brexit Freedoms Bill

Report of the Service Director, Economy, Innovation and Growth


The Committee received a report to provide an update on the issues related to the proposed Brexit Freedoms Bill (the Bill).   The relevant announcement was made in the Queens Speech on 5 May 2022.


The Government is planning to introduce a Brexit Freedoms Bill to end the special domestic legal status of EU law and make it easier to amend or remove retained EU Law.   The Prime Minister announced the bill in January 2022, on the second anniversary of the UK’s departure from the EU.  The Government also said a cross-government drive to reform, repeal or replace ‘outdated’ retained EU Law could cut £1bn of red tape for UK businesses.


“Retained EU law” is a concept created by the European Union (Withdrawal) Action 2018 (EUWA 2018).  The act (amended in 2020 to take account of the Brexit transition period) took a ‘snapshot’ of EU Law as it applied to the UK at the end of the transition period.  It provided for this body of retained EU law to continue to apply in domestic  law.  EUWA 2018 also sets out how retained EU law can be modified (whether primary or secondary legislation is required depends on the type of retained EU law) and how the courts should interpret it.


The Government has made hundreds of regulations using this power, for example to remove references to “other member states” from domestic law.  This power expires at the end of 2022.  Depending on the status they are given under EUWA 2018, some types of retained EU Law can also be modified through other delegated powers, not just the section 8 power.


The policy paper said the new legislation would “clarify the status and operation of retained EU law”, “simplify the complex status provisions” in EUWA 2018 and ensure retained EU law could be amended “in a proportionate and sensible way”. It said the Cabinet Office was currently reviewing questions including:

  • Revising the status of certain types of retained EU law for the purposes of amendment, to “normalise” their status in domestic law and make them easier to repeal or replace.
  • Creating a “targeted” power to enable the amendment of retained EU law for certain purposes without requiring primary legislation. The Government argued it was “not a good use of finite parliamentary time” to require primary legislation to amend retained EU laws that currently have a status equivalent to primary legislation when it comes to making amendments to them.
  • Removing the continued effect of the supremacy of EU law over domestic law that was made before the end of the transition period.


The proposed Bill will lead to a great deal of scrutiny on all EU derived legislation many of which related Regulations and Orders have been developed over the past fifty years and are enforced by officers in areas of consumer protection such as metrology, product safety, fair trading, animal health and welfare and food safety.


It was queried whether the Kite Mark would come back.  It was noted that it is likely to be CE mark.  It was noted that manufacturers will strive to export and that our current standards will be accepted and meet EU standards.


RESOLVED -  that the information be noted.








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