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17 Nov 2022

UK Regulation after Brexit Revisited: conference round-up

At the launch event for the new report ‘UK Regulation after Brexit Revisited’, held at the British Academy on 27 October, guest speakers as well as number of contributors, examined the state of regulation and regulatory governance in the UK coming up to two years after the end of the transition period.

Hussein Kassim (University of East Anglia) opened the event with a short summary of the report’s key findings. In his response, Matthew Holehouse, British correspondent of the Economist, considered how the opportunities afforded by Brexit could have been more fully explored and exploited by the UK.

Michael Keating (University of Aberdeen) and Lisa Claire Whitten (Queen’s University Belfast) then discussed how the transfer of regulatory responsibilities from the EU has been managed within the UK as a devolved polity. Focusing on Scotland and Wales, Michael considered the different approaches taken by governments in Edinburgh and Cardiff and their often tense relations with London. Lisa Claire discussed the Northern Ireland Protocol and the issues it raises in the context of an already complex regulatory history. The session was chaired by the Daniel Wincott (University of Cardiff).

In her keynote, Catherine Barnard (Cambridge University) examined the issues raised by the review of retained EU law. Catherine highlighted the pitfalls and dangers raised by the process, including the commitment to ‘sunsetting’ and the default setting of repeal. Brigid Fowler from the Hansard Society chaired the keynote.

Continuity and change in regulatory governance and the substance of regulation in key policy areas were examined in two panels. Carmen Hubbard (Newcastle University) discussed agriculture, David Bailey (University of Birmingham) manufacturing, and Sarah Hall (University of Nottingham) transport in the first panel, which was moderated by Paul Adamson, Chair of the EU-UK Forum. In the second, Andreas Stephan (University of East Anglia) looked at competition policy, Amelia Fletcher (University of East Anglia) digital regulation, and Scott James (King’s College London) financial services. Cleo Davies (University of East Anglia) was the chair.

The final session, chaired by Andrew Jordan (University of East Anglia) examined changes in regulation of the environment. In his keynote, Mark Roberts from the Environmental Standards Scotland described how the regime in Scotland differs from England, especially as Scotland has decided to align closely with EU rules. Mark explained the powers and responsibilities of the new agency and outlined the challenges that confront it. In her keynote, Maria Lee (UCL) discussed the new UK regulatory regime and the rules that have been proposed for England. She highlighted the UK government’s post-Brexit plans that aim to reduce expert input, discount precedent, and expand ministerial discretion.

‘UK regulation after Brexit revisited’ is a joint project of ‘Negotiating the Future’, the Centre for Competition Policy, and ‘Brexit&Environment’. It was convened by Hussein Kassim, Professor of Politics, ‘UK in a Changing Europe’ Senior Fellow, and PI of ‘Negotiating the Future’, Cleo Davies, Senior Research Associate ‘Negotiating the Future’, Sean Ennis, Professor of Competition Policy and Director of the Centre for Competition Policy, and Andrew Jordan, Professor of Environmental Policy, School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, and Co-chair ‘Brexit&Environment’.

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