What Is Assimilated Law?

What Is Assimilated Law?

Assimilated law is a legal concept that describes retained EU law which continues to apply within the UK domestic legal framework following the implementation of the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill at the end of 2023. This bill is designed to automatically revoke or sunset most retained EU law by the end of 2023. However, certain retained EU laws will persist in domestic law under the new designation of assimilated law.

Assimilated law will be incorporated into the UK’s national legal system and will operate under the same legal rules, principles, and mechanisms as domestic law. This integration ensures that assimilated law is treated as part of the UK’s legal landscape, maintaining consistency and continuity in areas previously governed by EU law. However, assimilated law will differ from EU law in a significant way: it will not hold the same status as EU law and will not be subject to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice. This distinction underscores the shift from a supranational legal framework to a wholly domestic one.

The UK government will have considerable authority over assimilated law, enabling it to manage and modify these laws through statutory instruments. This includes the power to restate, reproduce, revoke, replace, or update assimilated law as necessary. Such flexibility allows the government to adapt the legal framework to meet the needs and circumstances of the UK post-Brexit, ensuring that the legal system remains relevant and effective.

The creation of assimilated law represents a significant step in the UK’s legal transition post-Brexit. By selectively retaining and integrating useful elements of EU law, the UK aims to preserve stability and continuity in its legal system while asserting greater control over its legislative process. The ability to modify assimilated law via statutory instruments ensures that the UK can respond swiftly to legal and regulatory challenges, streamlining the adaptation process.

Assimilated law thus bridges the gap between the EU legal order and the UK’s domestic legal framework. It reflects a tailored approach to legal retention, allowing the UK to benefit from established legal principles and rules while fully transitioning to a sovereign legislative framework. This approach aims to balance the need for legal continuity with the desire for legislative autonomy, marking a new chapter in the UK’s post-Brexit legal landscape.
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