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Brexit

Susie MunroEditor's message: In response to the Brexit vote, the Prime Minister Theresa May triggered art.50 of the Treaty on European Union on 29 March 2017 giving notice of the UK's intention to withdraw from the EU. The Government subsequently began negotiations with the EU in June 2017 and expects to conclude an agreement on the UK's withdrawal from the EU before 29 March 2019.

The Repeal Bill, published in July 2017, provides for the repeal of the European Communities Act 1972, which brought the UK into the EU and gives EU law supremacy over UK law. Under the Bill, EU law will be converted into UK law when the UK leaves the EU. This means that current workers' rights under EU law, such as working time rights, will remain in effect after Brexit, but will become subject to Parliament's control over domestic law.

The Bill also confirms that, from exit day, UK courts will no longer be bound by new decisions of the European Court of Justice, although decisions made before exit day will continue to be binding on UK courts. The final court of appeal will be the UK Supreme Court. The jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights is, however, unaffected by Brexit.

One of the issues of particular interest to many organisations is the impact of Brexit on their European workforce in the UK. The UK Government and the EU negotiators have reached an agreement on citizens' rights, under which EU citizens who arrive in the UK by 31 December 2020, the end of the transition period, will be entitled to apply for "settled status" when they have five years' continuous residence in the UK. This will give them the right to stay indefinitely.

Susie Munro, senior employment law editor

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