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Brexit legislation update

The House of Commons Library has published two research briefing papers entitled Brexit timeline: events leading to the UK’s exit from the European Union and Legislating for Brexit: the Great Repeal Bill.

The Brexit timeline paper provides a timeline of the major events leading up to the referendum and subsequent dates of note, looking ahead to expected events as the UK and EU negotiate Britain’s exit. The Queen’s speech at the State Opening of Parliament, scheduled for 19 June 2017, will include the Great Repeal Bill in the Government’s legislative programme, along with a number of other Brexit-related bills. It is anticipated that the bill will subsequently be passed in late 2017, or early 2018. Broadly, the Great Repeal Bill will repeal the European Communities Act 1972 and, wherever practical and appropriate, convert EU law into UK law from the date Britain leaves. Publication of the bill is expected soon after the Queen’s speech.

The briefing paper Legislating for Brexit addresses each of three main elements of the Great Repeal Bill, namely, the repeal of the European Communities Act (ECA); the transposition of EU law; and the proposed use of delegated powers. In addition, it considers the complex interaction with devolution, including the possibility of consent motions from the Scottish Parliament, the National Assembly for Wales and the Northern Ireland Assembly, the mechanisms for coordination with the devolved administrations, and the replacement of EU framework legislation on matters of devolved competence such as agriculture or fishing. The briefing also covers how the Bill might address the status of EU-derived law post-Brexit, and in particular the judgments of the Court of Justice of the European Union.

The House of Commons Library estimates that 13.2% of UK primary and secondary legislation enacted between 1993 and 2004 was EU related. The review of all EU-related legislation, as well as that which will be transposed by the Great Repeal Bill, makes this potentially one of the largest legislative projects ever undertaken in the UK. The White Paper indicates that the corrections will require between 800 to 1000 statutory instruments!

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