EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020

This page sets out information on the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020 and the Implementation Period following the UK’s exit from the EU.

What is the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020 (‘the Withdrawal Agreement Act’)?

The European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020 is the legislation that gives effect to the Withdrawal Agreement in UK law. On 23 January 2020 the Act received royal assent (became law). 

What is the ‘Withdrawal Agreement’?

The Withdrawal Agreement sets out the terms of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, which takes effect at 11pm on 31 January 2020 (‘exit day’).

What is the ‘transition period’?

Under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement, the UK has entered into a transition period, also called an ‘Implementation Period’. During this period, EU law continues to apply in the UK in the same way as prior to exit day. To achieve this effect, the Withdrawal Agreement Act includes provisions so that references in UK legislation to “the EU”, “the EEA” or “Member State of the EU” include the UK during the transition period. The transition period is due to end on 31 December 2020. 

What is the effect of the Withdrawal Agreement Act on the ‘onshoring’ of EU law under the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018?

Prior to the UK and EU agreeing the Withdrawal Agreement, HM Government and the UK regulatory authorities undertook a program of legislative activity to ensure that the UK continues to have a functioning financial services regulatory regime following its exit from the EU. 

The EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (EUWA) functions to retain EU law and legislation implementing EU law and provides powers to amend it as appropriate for the UK legal environment. To this end, Parliament passed a number of Statutory Instruments amending retained EU financial services legislation. The UK regulators also made EU Exit Instruments to amend their rules and relevant Binding Technical Standards (BTS), using powers delegated by the EUWA. 

Most of these instruments were due to come into effect on “exit day” (11pm on 31 January 2020). However, the Withdrawal Agreement Act defers the coming into force of these instruments until the end of the transition period which is also known as ‘IP completion day’ (defined as 11pm on 31 December 2020). 

HM Government have also legislated so that the Temporary Permissions Regime (TPR), the Financial Services Contracts Regime and the Temporary Recognition Regime (TRR) will take effect from the end of the transition period.

At the end of the transition period, in the absence of any changes to reflect any new agreement on the future relationship between the EU and the UK, firms will be expected to comply with the legal and regulatory framework.

This page was last updated 25 March 2020

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