Brexit & Aviation 17

A while back, I wrote about a Statutory Instrument (SI), a form of secondary legislation in the UK.  For aviation we have primary legislation namely; the Civil Aviation Act 1982 which amongst other things constitutes a corporate body called the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

The CAA is given functions by or under the Air Navigation Order (ANO).  That’s the SI.   In the ANO are the functions that include the registration of aircraft, the safety of air navigation and aircraft (including airworthiness), the control of air traffic, the certification of operators of aircraft and the licensing of air crews and aerodromes.

At the time when the European Union (Withdrawal) Act[1] was being worked-up, the Government estimated that “the necessary corrections to the law will require between 800 and 1,000 statutory instruments”.  The Withdrawal Act has a means for the incorporation of EU legislation into UK law.  That includes the EU aviation law, like the Basic Regulation[2] that establishes the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).  Reading and trying to understand the Withdrawal Act is not easy.  My interpretation is that some draft SIs can be changed by a Minister and others need to be laid before, and approved by a resolution of, each House of Parliament.  I see this is referred to as the affirmative procedure.

What will happen to process changes to the Air Navigation Order (ANO)?  Not only that question but where will the great number of elements of “soft law” in the European system sit in the new UK system?  Let’s take Certification Specifications (CS) for example, will they be referenced and tagged to a Schedule somewhere in a revised ANO?

Because this is complex but needs to be done speedily a Parliamentary research paper has just been published[3].  What becomes immediately evident is there’s a vast amount of work to be done and there may not be enough time to do it with the care it deserves.  Even to securitise one subject, like aviation demands a great deal of dedicated effort.  This leads me to think that there will be little or no detailed scrutiny and thus everything that is in place will get thrown into the pot and become law after exit day on 29 March 2019.  There will be little or no opportunity for public comment.

I understand that the Withdrawal Act 2018 will allow for changes to be made after exit day.  But how many are likely to be made?  There are a lot of questions that need resolution to avoid legal uncertainty after Brexit.  There will be need for a lot of public information to let everyone in aviation know the who, what, where, when, why and how of the new British rule book.  There will be legal departments up and down the Country frantically amending contracts, processes, proceedures and manuals.


[2] Referred to as non-domestic EU law.



Author: johnwvincent

Our man in Southern England

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