Explanatory Notes

Annex B - Glossary



Act of Parliament

An Act of Parliament is a law that both Houses of Parliament
have passed, and which is enforced in all the areas of the UK where it is applicable.

Affirmative procedure

Under the affirmative procedure, a statutory instrument must be approved by both the House of Commons and the House of Lords to become law. There are two subcategories of the affirmative procedure in this Bill. Under the draft affirmative procedure, the statutory instrument cannot be made unless a draft has been laid before and approved by both Houses. Under the made affirmative procedure, the statutory instrument can be made and come into force before it is debated, but cannot remain in force unless approved by both Houses within one month.


This is the collective noun used to refer to the Withdrawal Agreement, the EEA EFTA Separation Agreement, and the Swiss Citizens’ Rights Agreement.


A proposal for a new law or an amendment to an existing law that has been presented to Parliament for consideration. Once agreed and made into law, it becomes an Act.

Coming into force/Commencement

The process by which an Act of Parliament, secondary
legislation or other legal instrument comes to have legal effect.
The law can be relied upon from the date on which it comes into
force but not any sooner. Also known as commencement.

Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU)

The CJEU has jurisdiction to rule on the interpretation and
application of the treaties. In particular, the Court has jurisdiction to rule on challenges to the validity of EU acts, in infraction proceedings brought by the Commission against member states and on references from national courts concerning the interpretation of EU acts. The Court is made up of two sub-courts: the General Court and the Court of Justice (which is
sometimes called the ECJ). See Article 19 TEU and Articles 251
to 281 TFEU.


A legislative act of the EU which is binding upon those to whom it is addressed. If a decision has no addressees, it binds everyone. See Article 288 TFEU.

Delegated Act

A form of EU instrument which is similar to UK secondary legislation. An EU legislative act, such as a directive or a regulation, can delegate power to the Commission to adopt delegated acts to supplement or amend non-essential elements of the legislative act. See Article 290 TFEU.

Devolution settlements

The constitutional arrangements governing which decision-making responsibilities and legislation-making powers have been devolved and the mechanisms through which these operate.

Devolution statutes (or Acts/legislation)

The principal Acts of Parliament that set out the terms of the devolution settlements. These are the Scotland Act 1998, the Northern Ireland Act 1998, and the Government of Wales Act 2006. ‘Devolution legislation’ may refer either to the devolution statutes or to the statues together with the secondary legislation made under them.

Devolved administrations

The Scottish Government, the Welsh Government and the Northern Ireland Executive.

Devolved authorities

This is a term used in the Bill to refer collectively to the devolved authorities in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. This includes ministers in the Scottish and Welsh Governments or a Northern Ireland Department.

Devolved competence

The areas in which the devolved legislatures are responsible for making laws (‘legislative competence’) or the devolved administrations are responsible for governing or making secondary legislation (‘executive competence’).

Devolved institutions

Used to refer collectively to both the devolved administrations and the devolved legislatures.

Devolved legislatures

The Scottish Parliament, the National Assembly for Wales and the Northern Ireland Assembly.


A legislative act of the EU which requires member states to
achieve a particular result without dictating the means of
achieving that result. Directives must be transposed into national
law using domestic legislation, in contrast to regulations, which
are enforceable as law in their own right. See Article 288 TFEU.


European Communities Act 1972

EEA EFTA Separation Agreement

An international treaty between the UK and EEA EFTA countries (Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) that formalises the UK’s new relationship with the EEA EFTA countries following the UK’s exit from the EU.

EEA Regulations 2016

Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2016

EU institutions

There are a number of EU bodies which are defined under the
Treaties as EU institutions including the European Parliament, the European Council, the Council of the European Union and the European Commission.

The EU Treaties (including TEU and TFEU)

The European Economic Community (EEC) was established
by the Treaty of Rome in 1957. This Treaty has since been
amended and supplemented by a series of treaties, the latest
of which is the Treaty of Lisbon. The Treaty of Lisbon, which
entered into force on 1 December 2009, re-organised the two
treaties on which the European Union is founded: the Treaty on
European Union (TEU) and the Treaty establishing the European
Community, which was re-named the Treaty on the Functioning
of the European Union (TFEU).

EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018

European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018.

European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR)

An international convention, ratified by the UK
and incorporated into domestic law in the Human Rights Act 1998.
It specifies a list of protected Human Rights, and establishes a
Court (European Court of Human Rights sitting in Strasbourg)
to determine breaches of those rights. All member states are
parties to the Convention. The Convention is a Council of Europe
Convention, which is a different organisation from the EU.
Article 6 TEU provides for the EU to accede to the ECHR.

European Council

The European Council defines the general political direction
and priorities of the EU. It consists of the Heads of State or
Government of the member states, together with its President
and the President of the Commission. See Article 15 TEU and
Articles 235 and 236 TFEU.

European Parliament

The European Parliament (EP) consists of representatives
elected by Union citizens. The EP shares legislative and
budgetary power with the Council, and has oversight over the
actions of the Commission. See Article 14 TEU and Articles 223
to 234 TFEU.

Exit day

The day the UK leaves the EU.


EU-Swiss Free Movement of Persons Agreement.


Specific modifications to make clear the way that EU law terms should be read on the UK statute book, so that our laws continue to work during the implementation period. For example, the glosses will ensure that across the UK statute book, references to ‘EU citizens’, will be read as including UK nationals for the duration of the implementation period.

IP completion day

The day that the implementation period ends - 31 December 2020 at 11pm, as provided for in Part 4 of the Withdrawal Agreement subject to the exercise of the power at clause 36 which provides for a single extension to the duration of the implementation period by a period of up to two years.


The Independent Monitoring Authority for the Citizens’ Rights Agreements.

Joint Committees

Joint Committees established by Article 164 of the Withdrawal Agreement, Article 65 of the EEA EFTA Separation Agreement, Article 6 of the Swiss Citizens’ Rights Agreement.

Negative procedure

A statutory instrument under the negative procedure becomes law once it is made and laid before Parliament, but will normally not come into force until at least 21 calendar days after it has been made. Under the negative procedure, an instrument may be annulled by resolution of either House of Parliament (or only by the House of Commons if it was laid before that House of Commons only) within a period of 40 calendar days of it having been laid, not including any period when both Houses (or just the House of Commons) are adjourned for more than four days.


A legislative act of the EU which is directly applicable in member
states without the need for national implementing legislation
(as opposed to a directive, which must be transposed into
domestic law by member states using domestic legislation). See
Article 288 TFEU.

Secondary legislation

Legal instruments (including regulations and orders) made under powers delegated to ministers or other office holders in Acts of Parliament. They have the force of law but can be disapplied by a court if they do not comply with the terms of their parent Act. Also called subordinate or delegated legislation.

Statute book

The body of legislation that has been enacted by Parliament or
one of the devolved legislatures and has effect in the UK.

Statutory instrument

A form of secondary legislation to which the Statutory
Instruments Act 1946 applies.

Swiss Citizens’ Rights Agreement

An international treaty between the UK and Switzerland that protects the rights of Swiss nationals in the UK and UK nationals in Switzerland.

Withdrawal Agreement

The ‘agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community’. An international treaty between the UK and the EU that governs the terms of the UK’s exit from the EU.



These Explanatory Notes relate to the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill as introduced in the House of Commons on 21 October 2019 (Bill 7).


Ordered by the House of Commons to be printed, 21 October 2019


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Prepared 22nd October 2019