UK to set out sovereignty plan for converting EU laws into domestic law post-Brexit

The British government will set out plans to convert European Union laws into domestic legislation, with up to a 1,000 that will be passed without parliamentary scrutiny

30 March 2017, 8:04am
Ministers said that the Great Repeal Bill is essential to avoid a
Ministers said that the Great Repeal Bill is essential to avoid a "black hole" in the law when the UK leaves the EU
The British government will set out plans on Thursday to convert European Union laws into domestic legislation to give "businesses, workers and consumers the certainty they need" as Britain exits the bloc.

A day after British Prime Minister Theresa May launched the formal divorce process, saying there was “no turning back,” her government will publish a formal policy document on its "Great Repeal Bill".

The White Paper, which sets out the government's proposals for future legislation, will, according to Brexit minister David Davis, end "the supremacy of lawmakers in Brussels" but also give a legal framework for firms to be able to plan.

"At the heart of the referendum decision was sovereignty. A strong, independent country needs control of its own laws. That process starts now," Davis said in a statement.

"Converting EU law into UK law ... will mean that as we seek a comprehensive new economic partnership with the EU, our allies will know that we start from a position where we have the same standards and rules."

Ministers said that the Great Repeal Bill is essential to avoid a "black hole" in the law when the UK leaves the EU.

The UK parliament will be able to "amend, repeal and improve" the laws as necessary, the government says.

However, it could prove controversial with plans to give ministers the power to make changes to some laws without full parliamentary scrutiny.

The Brexit department has admitted that a 1,000 laws will be passed unilaterally and without parliamentary scrutiny.

The Brexit Department has said that ‘corrections’ to EU laws will number between 800 and 1,000 and will be passed by statutory instrument, a legislative device that allows for laws to be made without a parliamentary vote.

The department said these laws will effect ‘mechanical changes’ to ensure laws function properly after the UK leaves the European Union.

By converting the body of EU law into British legislation, May's government hopes to ease those concerns by offering that "wherever practical, the same rules and laws will apply after exit day".

"It will then be for elected politicians in this country to make changes in the national interest," the Brexit ministry said.