The Repeal Bill

Legal and Practical Challenges of Implementing Brexit

Tobias Lock, 2017
Picture Credit: Jessica Taylor, CC-BY-NC-2.0

The United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union requires not only a readjustment of the UK’s external relations with the EU and the wider world, but also changes to domestic law. Currently, EU law is given effect in the law of the UK by the European Communities Act 1972 (ECA).

The UK having withdrawn from the EU will mean that the ECA will no longer serve its purpose and will need to be repealed. However, unless EU law currently applicable in the UK were either retained or replaced domestically, withdrawal from the EU would result in gaps in the UK’s legal order.

To avoid such gaps, the government announced the introduction of a Repeal Bill. The Repeal Bill will be a technically complex piece of legislation, and it raises questions about the appropriate balance of powers between the legislature and the executive, and also about devolution.