The “Great Repeal Bill” is published: how will Brexit affect employment law?

17 July


Following the start of Brexit negotiations, the Government has published a bill setting out how existing EU laws are going to be retained by the UK following its exit from the EU. The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill was introduced to Parliament on 13 July.


In terms of employment law, this is a hugely important step because many of the rights existing between employers and workers are derived from EU law and presided over by the European Court of Justice (ECJ), which has the final right of appeal on cases fought in the UK courts and Employment Tribunals.


A summary of how employment law is likely to be affected during and after the Brexit process:


- Until the UK officially leaves the EU, it will continue to be bound by EU law and will not be able to alter its employment laws

- Upon the UK’s exit, the laws which were introduced into the UK through the EU will become purely domestic legislation, meaning that the UK Government and courts will have sole discretion over them and would be able to make significant changes to employment laws

- This also means that UK citizens will no longer have the right to appeal to the ECJ: The Supreme Court will be the final forum for appeals in employment law cases

- The only exception to this will be cases involving human rights, which will still be subject to the jurisdiction of the European Court on Human Rights. This is a separate court to the ECJ and is not an EU institution


If you would like more information on this or a related topic, please contact the Employment and HR team.


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