Civil servants 'instructed to launch Operation Bleach to strip out EU references in UK law'

Mon 11 Jan 2021
Posted by: William Barns-Graham
Trade News

global law

The UK government has instructed civil servants to remove references to the European Union from tens of thousands of UK laws, according to the Daily Telegraph, . 

Nick-named ‘Operation Bleach’, the pro-Brexit newspaper writes that the project involves a team of about 20 scouring laws and statutory instruments for references to the EU and use of EU terminology, replacing them with international legal terms.

For example, the EU-favoured term “state aid” will be replaced with “subsidy system”.

Officials are, the Telegraph asserts, “looking at how we can cleanse our legislative framework of references to EU law, any kind of impact of EU law. It is going to be a mammoth task because there are thousands of pieces of legislation - statutory instruments, regulations, that sort of thing.”

Jurisdiction issue

Despite this reported activity, the UK is continuing to seek approval from the European Council for its courts to rule on cross-border legal disputes.

The EU has three months to decide whether the UK will be allowed to join the Lugano Convention which determines who has legal jurisdiction on such disputes and would ensure British court judgements are recognised abroad, the FT reports

The UK applied to join in April last year but Brussels told EU states there was reason to reject it.

EU Council approval is necessary for admission and the UK's application is “still under consideration”, according to the European Commission. 

Without accession, English court judgements would be reliant on older and more fragmented international agreements. This could increase the cost of cases.