What is the REUL Act and why is it important for environmental law?
The Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Act is part of the Government’s ‘Brexit opportunities’ agenda.
The Act will 'sunset' or revoke many retained EU laws at the end of 2023. Ministers have powers to restate, reproduce, replace or revoke retained EU law. The Act will also remove retained principles of EU law and change the way the courts may depart from retained EU case law.
The Act is critically important for environmental law because much of UK environmental law is retained EU law. The Government’s ‘REUL dashboard’ identifies thousands of legal instruments which are the responsibility of Defra. The list of REUL to be revoked at the end of December 2023 contains 587 instruments. Because of the importance of environmental law contained in REUL, and because of the significant scope for changing REUL, amendments were sought to introduce safeguards for non-regression on environmental protection, but were consistently rejected as 'unnecessary to maintain environmental protection' due to Government commitments to maintain and improve the environment.
UKELA's Governance and Devolution Group has prepared a briefing giving an overview of the 2023 Act and making recommendations for the review and reform of environmental law under the Act.
The Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Act 2023 enacted in June 2023 will be critical for UK environmental law in the coming months and years. It provides for the revocation of 587 retained EU laws at the end of 2023. Ministers also have powers under the Act to restate, reproduce, replace or revoke retained EU law, which will be known as ‘assimilated law’ from 2024. Further, the Act changes the way the courts may depart from retained EU case law. This UKELA briefing paper offers an overview of the Act and its implications for environmental law across the UK, with recommendations for the review and reform of environmental law. Read UKELA Briefing Paper on the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Act 2023.
Briefing paper on post-Brexit legal frameworks for environment and trade (March 2023)
The UK Government has committed to improving environmental protection post-Brexit. UKELA's briefing paper (March 2023) looks at the legal arrangements supporting this commitment. Recommendations are made for strengthening the coherence between trade and environment post-Brexit. Read UKELA's Briefing Paper on post-Brexit legal framework for environment and trade.