The UK’s future relationship with the EU set out in law
The European Union (Future Relationship) Act 2020 has received Royal Assent. It brings into effect in the UK the Trade and Cooperation Agreement signed with the EU – as well as the Agreement on Nuclear Cooperation and Agreement on Security Procedures for Exchanging and Protecting Classified Information.
The Act is the culmination of events that arose from the 2016 referendum on whether the UK should
remain a member of the EU. More than 33.5m people, some 72% of registered voters, voted in the referendum and 52% of those who voted, voted to leave the EU.
The UK has a dualist legal system, in which an international treaty ratified by the Government, although binding in international law, does not alter the laws of the state unless and until the treaty is incorporated into domestic law by legislation. This means that the UK Parliament had to pass implementing legislation before international treaties could have effect domestically.
The principal purpose of the Act was to implement the Agreements. Importantly, the Trade and Cooperation Agreement, amongst other things, enables tariff-free and quota-free trade between the UK and EU after the UK leaves the EU.