Will there be a sunset for retained EU law in Wales?

Published 14/11/2022   |   Reading Time minutes

The Senedd must soon decide whether to consent to the UK Government’s Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill.

Our briefing explains how this Bill starts a countdown to 31 December 2023, when the majority of REUL will automatically expire unless it is saved by Ministers. Known as ‘sunset’ clauses, these set a date on which legislation will expire in the future. Before then, UK and Welsh Ministers must decide what to save, reform or remove. UK Ministers can extend the deadline up to 23 June 2026, the tenth anniversary of the Brexit referendum.

The Bill would grant powers to Welsh Ministers to take action within devolved areas with the Senedd’s approval. But with the UK Parliament’s approval, UK Ministers could do the same in respect of devolved areas, effectively bypassing the Welsh Government and the Senedd.

The governments could agree or disagree on what to do with devolved REUL, which will be explored in further analysis.  


Retained EU Law (REUL) is EU law that the UK converted to domestic law in the run up to Brexit to minimise disruption. It’s a distinct body of law covering all aspects of our daily lives.  

REUL covers a mix of devolved areas for which the Welsh Government is responsible, like the environment, food, rural affairs, energy and fisheries, and reserved areas for which the UK Government is responsible, like trade, taxes, medical devices and electronic communications.

Clause generator

Use our clause generator for a quick summary of the Bill’s 23 clauses and three schedules. Select all clauses or view them by category, then click on a clause number to generate a summary. 

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Clause 1

Clause 1 sunsets EU-derived subordinate legislation and retained direct EU legislation (RDEUL) on 31 December 2023 unless it is saved by Ministers.

Clause 1(2) provides an option to avoid this and future sunsets if the REUL is specified in regulations made by UK Ministers, Welsh Ministers or both acting jointly.


The infographic below shows how Welsh or UK Ministers could save, reform or remove REUL under the Bill:

Article by Sara Moran and Joe Wilkes, Senedd Research, Welsh Parliament