Given that Brexit is again dominating the news this week, with The Supreme Court hearing the appeal by the Government against the earlier judgment of the High Court, it is, perhaps, timely to consider one aspect of the post-Brexit legal landscape that will be relevant to lawyers and compliance/regulatory professionals alike: what will happen to that primary legislation (i.e. Acts of Parliament) that was originally enacted, entirely independently of the European Communities Act 1972 (the 'ECA'), to give effect to EU law?

The reality is that the so-called 'Great Repeal Bill' will, no doubt, repeal the ECA, but will certainly not remove all EU law from the UK's 'statute book'. Why? Because there is voluminous primary and secondary legislation that was introduced to give effect in the UK to the EU's legal framework. An indication of the scale of the legislation involved may be gleaned from the estimate from The House of Commons Library that 13.2% of all UK statutory law (both primary and secondary) enacted in the period 1993 to 2004 was "EU related".

So, what sort of laws are we talking about? Well, to start with, there's the Consumer Protection Act 1987 and the Consumer Rights Act 2015, since each gives effect to EU Directives. Then, there's the Equality Act 2010, the Communications Act 2003 and the Competition Act 1998.

It won't escape notice that these are Acts that impact upon, variously, the workplace, business in the financial services sector and the regulation of telecommunications. The significance, and potential practical effect, should, therefore, not be underestimated.

Naturally, some of the legislative provisions referred to may well be able to continue happily in place post-Brexit, but, for others, there will is the prospect of real transposition challenges. Even those that, on the face of it, reflect legal norms that would be presumed to be still in place post-Brexit, such as the Equality Act, may still face interpretative changes (since underlying EU law, including case authorities from the Court of Justice of the European Union (formerly the European Court of Justice) will not be able to be relied upon in the same way as before). Meanwhile, UK legislation that refers to EU institutions or agencies will need amendment to reflect the UK's new relationship with the EU and its bodies; moreover, difficult questions are likely to arise as to the status of guidance produced by EU institutions, but directly relevant to the interpretation of that wide range of UK legislation, already highlighted above, that is based on EU law.

All told, we face legislative interesting times!

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