The Government has announced that it will table an amendment to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill to define ‘exit day’ as 11pm on 29th March 2019.

The Public Law Project (PLP) welcomes the amendment, which addresses some of the concerns raised by Parliamentarians and civil society organisations.  In particular, PLP raised concerns that allowing ‘exit day’ to be defined by Ministers would create legal uncertainty and allow Ministers to extend the period in which they could exercise delegated powers.

While the amendment addresses these issues, PLP is concerned that setting the date as a specific day precludes the possibility of a transitional arrangement for leaving the EU. In its briefing paper on ‘exit day’ (The importance of ‘exit day’ in the EU (Withdrawal) Bill), PLP called for an amendment defining ‘exit day’ as ‘the day on which the UK ceases to be subject to the EU Treaties’.  This would allow sufficient flexibility for there to be a transition period while also enhancing legal certainty and limiting Ministers’ discretion.