The Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill …
The Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill had its second reading in the Commons on 25 October 2022 ─ will affect a full range of H&S regs ─ will AUTOMATICALLY BE REPEALED in just thirteen months on 31 December 2023 ... unless, of course, if ministers make specific decisions to save them ...
Updated 30 January 2023
The Bill is intended to deal with around 2,500 EU derived laws that were saved by the Brexit-necessity of the EU Withdrawal Act ... a Govt dashboard currently lists some 58 of these laws as being in the health and safety category; and many more cover product safety, food safety and environmental protection and the like ...
The effect of the Bill will not apply to primary legislation which is generally anything with a title ending in the word “Act” such as the Health and Safety at Work Etc. Act 1974
But they do apply to all the UK Regulations which form the backbone of health and safety practitioners where they set out the procedures and specific safety duties dealing with the plethora of specific risks that range from h&s management, welfare considerations, consultation and first aid, and through to Work at Height, LOLER, PUWER, PPE, Manual Handling, Asbestos and the CDM Regulations ─ yes, it's ALL the rules with a title ending in the word “Regulations” !!! ...
... so, how will this affect the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 ? ... will it affect the Order at all? ... the main difference between a regulation and an order is explained ... both are types of secondary legislation ─ they both require the existence of a piece of primary legislation typically an Act of Parliament that enables the government to introduce specific laws without having to go through the time, effort etc of a fully-fledged Act of Parliament ...
The primary enabling act itself will describe the mechanism that is used to create the secondary legislation ... for example, Section 15 of the Health and Safety at Work Act confirms how the government has to use the mechanism known as a Statutory Instrument to create the legislation and refers to this legislation as regulations.
The Statutory Instruments Act 1946 allows for SI [Statutory Instruments] to be made under the negative resolution procedure which is essentially when a minister responsible places the draft regulation before the house then, if nobody objects after 40 days, it becomes law.
Other pieces of legislation such as the Regulatory Reform Act 2001 call their associated secondary legislation Orders, since they are technically Orders in Council (and, the Council in question is the Privy Council). The Act itself describes the mechanism for creating the Order ...
From a more general point of view, living under this legislation there is very little difference between an Order and a Regulation: they are both categorised as secondary legislation, they both depend upon an enabling act, and both can be challenged in the courts through a process of judicial review ─ usually on the grounds of having exceeded the powers granted under the primary legislation ...
To slightly confuse all but legal experts and historians there is also something called an Order of the Council, which is made by the Privy Council exercising powers under the Royal Prerogative. Effectively, although called an Order, this Is really primary legislation and tends to cover things such as the Civil Service and government agencies ...
... so, if ministers don't decide soon upon what specific measures they wish to put in place to save all this health and safety regulatory secondary legislation it will simply be automatically repealed on New Year's Eve next year! ...
... also consider what will then happen to ALL the various professional bodies; their memberships; accreditations; those professionals in the construction sector who exist to perform duties such as CDM Advisors and the like ?! ...
The Bill sweeps up swathes of health and safety Regulations, along with all other EU currently retained laws ... and, the first step is that all these Regulations will automatically be repealed on 31 December 2023 which requires no consultation or parliamentary scrutiny whatsoever unless, of course, something is specifically done by Ministers to reprieve any of them ...
The Bill sets out a range of specific options for Ministers to follow should they wish to avoid the automatic repeal on any specific set of Regulations.
First Option: ─ Ministers can decide to postpone the repeal, but this is only a temporary delay only permitted to extend to June 2026.
Second Option: ─ Ministers can replace the EU retained Regulations with new UK Regulations.
Important Notes: ─
─ Replacement Regulations are only permitted to be changed to become less burdensome and cannot become more burdensome which fits with the de-regulatory purpose of the Bill.
─ Ministers are not required to consult with those affected by their choices, as to whether to let the rules lapse or on the terms of the potentially watered-down replacement rules.
─ Replacement rules will not usually require a debate or vote in parliament ─ but if and when there is any vote the process will simply be “yes” or “no” on the replacement, then with the current Regulations set to vanish anyway.
─ Given the few number of Parliamentary sitting days in the next thirteen months until New Years Eve on 2023, it is highly unlikely that some 2,500 laws could be adequately considered, consulted upon then debated! ─ that is, of course, needed to be permitted ...
These changes are driven by the UK under its declared intent of Brexit to "take back control" ...
It is unclear exactly how much a part of the Regulatory change is to do with making the community safer or is due to political decisions designed to make it harder, if not impossible, for a future govt to rejoin the EU single market ─ of course, all of that would require restoring an even playing field of business regulation and, possibly adopting EU currency ...
Written Evidence submitted to Public Bill Committee:
Professor Charlotte Villiers, Professor of Company Law and Corporate Governance, University of Bristol Law School (REULB01)
The Law Society of Scotland (REULB02)
Equally Ours (REULB03)
Employment Lawyers Association ('ELA') (REULB04)
Bar Council (REULB05)
New Forest National Park Authority (REULB08)
Dr Martin Brenncke (REULB09)
Civil Society Alliance (REULB10)
Professor Maria Lee (REULB11)
BRC (British Retail Consortium) (REULB12)
Consumer Scotland (REULB13)
Lewis Silkin LLP (REULB14)
The Wildlife Trusts (REULB15)
Hansard Society (REULB16)
PETRA Network (REULB17)
Harold Shupak (REULB18)
Suffolk Coastal Port Health Authority (REULB19)
evidence submitted by a working mother from Cambridge (REULB20)
Catherine Barnard, Professor of Law, University of Cambridge, and Deputy Director, UK in a Changing Europe, and Dr Joelle Grogan, senior researcher, UK in a Changing Europe (REULB21)
Committee Debates: compilation pdf of sittings so far