Why are we talking about Henry VIII in the same sentence as Brexit?

Brexit / 12 September 2017

It won’t have escaped your notice that on Thursday 8 September MPs began debating the EU (Withdrawal) Bill (also known as the Great Repeal Bill), which will end the supremacy of EU law in the UK.

This Bill, which was eventually approved by the House of Commons late last night, repeals the 1972 European Communities Act, which took Britain into the EU.

It also ends European law taking precedence over laws passed in the UK Parliament and the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice.

All existing EU legislation will be copied across into domestic UK law with the aim of ensuring a smooth transition on the day after Brexit. The UK Parliament can then make corrections to these laws over time and as necessary.

The Government plans to enact its “corrections” to the statute book using what are known as “Henry VIII powers”.  This means that it will have the ability to make secondary legislation that amends primary legislation without Parliamentary oversight.

The right to legislate in this way comes from the Statute of Proclamations which was passed in 1539.

The corrections will be incorporated into legislation using measures called statutory instruments.  The government currently estimates that 800 to 1,000 statutory instruments will be required to make sure the bill functions properly.

In the Greenwoods Disputes team we use, amongst other things, statute and statutory instruments to interpret the law when we advise you.  We will have a lot of work to do therefore in the next few years to ensure that we keep up to date with changes to existing legislation but we are ready for the challenge.

Keep an eye out for further Solutions articles.  We will ensure that through Solutions you are always up to date and aware of how the law is evolving in the areas that matter to you personally and professionally.


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This update is for general purposes and guidance only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. You should seek legal advice before relying on its content. This update relates to the prevailing circumstances at the date of its original publication and may not have been updated to reflect subsequent developments. If you have general queries about our updates, please email: mailinglists@greenwoodsgrm.co.uk

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