Brexit Bites - Part 5: Is there law after Brexit?


2 mins

Posted on 12 Dec 2016

Brexit Bites - Part 5: Is there law after Brexit?

A considerable amount of UK law stems from EU Directives (the Equality Act, the Working Time Regulations (WTRs) and TUPE to name but a few). So will the UK’s exit from the EU mean that we can throw the statute books out of the window? While some might relish the thought of ridding themselves of the confusion and financial risk of the holiday pay cases and the nebulous world of TUPE, the answer to this question is probably ‘no’.

What will happen to EU derived statutes and case law?

In practice, what will happen when we exit the EU is that any statutes derived from Europe will remain in place and then it will be for the Government to repeal and/or amend these laws. They will not just disappear into thin air. Of course the Government will be fettered in the usual way when it comes to making any such legislative changes.

So what about case law? It is not entirely clear whether the UK Courts and Tribunals will be bound by decisions from the European Court of Justice but it seems likely that these will be at least persuasive.

What’s on the agenda for change?

TUPE has been in the spotlight as one the candidates for change as a result of Brexit, although this may seem unlikely to some. In 2013, the Government reviewed the legislation and did not pare it back as much as some might have expected and indeed in some respects TUPE goes beyond what the Acquired Rights Directive requires. For now, it looks as though TUPE is here to stay in all its gold-plated glory.

Speculators consider that the Agency Worker Regulations (AWRs) and the WTRs are not likely to survive Brexit, at least not in their current form. The AWRs are generally considered to be over-complicated and to inhibit business growth. And the WTRs have presented some considerable uncertainty and potentially huge costs in light of the stream of associated holiday pay cases. Overall, businesses are likely to welcome such a change.

What will likely stay the same?

Find out in our next and final instalment of Brexit Bites!

The articles published on this website, current at the date of publication, are for reference purposes only. They do not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Specific legal advice about your own circumstances should always be sought separately before taking any action.