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Brexit and its effect on the law
2.01 Brexit in a nutshell
The European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (‘the 2018 Act’) and the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020 (‘the 2020 Act’) provided the main legislative engine by which the United Kingdom cut itself off from the European Union. The broad picture is that the United Kingdom’s membership terminated by agreement at 11pm 1 on 31 January 2020, but that for the remainder of calendar year 2020 a Withdrawal Agreement made provision for an ‘Implementation Period’. According to this, until implementation was declared to be ‘Completed’, the law in the United Kingdom was to be functionally identical to what it would have been if the United Kingdom had remained a Member State. At the end of the Implementation Period, which is to say on Completion Day, which at the date of writing is set as 31 December 2020, detailed legislation prescribes, as the default position, that much of EU law, 2 and EU-derived law, 3 as it stands on that date, will be retained as the domestic law of the United Kingdom. European legislation made after that date will have no effect in England, though subsequent decisions of the European Court bearing on retained EU laws may be taken notice of by English courts. Such is the law in broad outline.
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