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Retained EU law

Retained EU law forms a new constitutional framework for former EU law to continue to apply in the UK legal system after the UK left the EU. Brexit: an introduction to retained EU law gives an overview of what retained EU law is and the part it will play in the UK's legislative framework following withdrawal from the EU.  

The body of domestic law, which constitutes retained EU law framework, was created at 11:00 pm on 31 December 2020, when EU law was converted into domestic law by the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018. It was simultaneously amended by over 1,000 pieces of secondary legislation across the UK, almost all made under powers in the Act, so that it functioned properly as domestic law, for example by removing references to the EU. The Welsh Ministers made (signed) over 70 of these “EU Exit” statutory instruments (SIs) and consented to over 230 UK Government SIs in devolved areas.

This was done to provide certainty and continuity for citizens and businesses in the UK. 

Retaining this “snapshot” of EU law, appropriately amended, provides continuity and certainty for citizens and businesses in the UK, avoiding a situation where the EU law that had applied for many years in the domestic legal system did not simply vanish overnight. Over time, this body of retained EU law may be gradually amended or replaced by domestic legislation that is passed in the usual way.

Further information can be found on the following links:


Published on
Last updated
16 June 2022