The Repeal Bill being introduced by U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May — downgraded from The “Great” Repeal Bill — will be seen as a milestone in Britain’s ongoing departure from the European Union. But many months of work — and no shortage of additional legislating — are still ahead before Brexit is a reality. And it will not be as straightforward as the prime minister imagined when she announced it in October last year.
1. What will the Repeal Bill do?
It will repeal the European Communities Act of 1972, which gave effect and priority to EU law in the U.K. It signifies that the British are taking control of their legal destiny. At the same time, the bill will graft EU statutes into British law books, maintaining the status quo.
2. What does that accomplish?
The two-year time frame for Brexit makes it impossible to replace all EU law with new domestic legislation. The hope is that by adopting EU laws for now, the U.K. will reassure companies and investors that nothing will change precipitously during the Brexit process, “maximising certainty for individuals and businesses,” May’s office said in a briefing. Future governments will then be able to “amend, repeal and improve any law it chooses,” subject to international treaty obligations, May has said.
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