The European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Act was passed into law on 16 March 2017. This enabled the Prime Minister to notify the European Council of the UK's intention to withdraw from the EU under Article 50(2) of the Treaty on European Union. Prime Minister Theresa May wrote to European Council President Donald Tusk on 29 March notifying him of the UK’s intention, thereby triggering Article 50. This has set in motion a two year period in which the UK and the EU will negotiate the terms of withdrawal.
Formal Brexit negotiations regarding the UK’s withdrawal from the EU commenced on 19 June 2017. Should no agreement on the arrangements for the UK’s withdrawal be reached, then Brexit will take place on 29 March 2019 (unless all Member States unanimously agree otherwise).
The UK Government published a White Paper on 30 March 2017 entitled Legislating for the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union which set out the approach to Great Repeal Bill (later renamed the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill) and also how the domestic legal system will operate once the UK leaves the EU.
On 5 April 2017, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on its key principles and conditions for the UK's withdrawal agreement.
On 29 April 2017, the European Council adopted guidelines setting out the overall positions and principles that the EU Member States will pursue throughout the negotiation.
The UK Government introduced the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill on 13 July 2017. The Bill ends the supremacy of European Union (EU) law in UK law. The Bill will:
-repeal the European Communities Act 1972 (ECA);
-convert the ‘acquis’ – the body of existing EU law – into domestic law on Brexit day;
-create powers to make secondary legislation, including temporary powers to allow corrections to be made to laws that would otherwise no longer operate appropriately once the UK has left the EU and to implement a withdrawal agreement; and
-maintain the current scope of devolved decision-making powers in areas currently governed by EU law.
The Bill has had its first reading and MPs will consider the Bill at the Second Reading, the date of which is not yet known.
The Queen’s Speech of 21 June 2017, announced 8 new bills relating to Brexit which ‘ensure an orderly withdrawal from the EU’ . This included the Repeal Bill and bills relating to, inter alia, the customs regime, trade policy and international sanctions.