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Will the Commercial Agents Regulations still apply after Brexit?

The Commercial Agents (Council Directive) Regulations 1993 (‘the Regulations’) give certain rights and protections to agents that can meet the definition of ‘commercial agent’. Those agents (and their principals) are, quite rightly, keen to understand whether the Regulations will still apply when the Brexit transition period ends on 31 December 2020. The answer is that they will, at least to start with.

The UK actually left the EU on 31 January 2020. There hasn’t really been a noticeable change since then because a transition period has been in place while the UK and the EU try to agree a trade deal to cover their future relationship. During the transition period EU law has continued to apply in the UK in the same way it always has.

However, the transition period is due to end on 31 December 2020 and, one way or another, things will change on that date.

A lot of attention has, quite rightly, been focussed on whether or not a trade deal can be reached and the effect that either outcome will have on businesses in the UK. At the time of writing this article, it is still not clear whether or not a trade deal will be agreed.

Whatever the outcome of the trade negotiations, the Regulations would continue to apply after 31 December 2020. The reason for this is the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, which specifies that any EU derived law that is in effect before ‘exit day’ (i.e. 31 December 2020) will continue to have effect after exit day. That would include the Regulations (which implemented an EU Directive into UK law).

That doesn’t necessarily mean that the Regulations will remain in force forever. They could be amended or removed in the future. However, only the UK Parliament could do this. This seems unlikely in the short term because Parliament will have a number of other priorities to deal with after 31 December 2020. We can therefore fairly safely assume that the Regulations will remain in place for at least the foreseeable future, but we will keep you informed of any developments.