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Simplifying EU Legislation (Davidson Review)


Findings of the Davidson Review, which examined whether the ‘gold-plating’ or over-implementation of European Union (EU) regulations were adding to the administrative burden for UK businesses.

In 2006, a review by Lord Neil Davidson QC examined whether the ‘gold-plating’ or over-implementation of European Union (EU) regulations were adding to the administrative burden for UK businesses.

Davidson was asked by the Chancellor to look at whether any areas of EU legislation could be simplified, and what the best way of doing that was. He was also tasked with drawing up rigorous enforcement guidelines to prevent any future legislation being over-applied in the UK where not appropriate.

What were the findings?

Davidson published his final report on 28 November 2006. This recommended specific simplification proposals in ten areas of legislation, including:

  • consumer sales
  • financial services
  • transport
  • food hygiene
  • waste legislation.

It also made a number of generic recommendations designed to promote best practice in the implementation of EU legislation in the UK.

Call for evidence docs

Alongside the audit, the review also undertook a call for evidence, which was open between

3 March and 25 May 2006. A summary of responses to the call for evidence was published on 19 July 2006.

Background to the reviewer: Lord Davidson QC

Neil Davidson was called to the Scottish Bar in 1979 and has been a QC since 1993. He was called to the English Bar in 1990 and was Solicitor General for Scotland from 2000-2001. On 21 March 2006 Neil was appointed Advocate General for Scotland - the chief legal adviser to the UK government on Scottish law.

During his time in practice Neil covered a broad range of commercial and public law work. He was a founder/director of the City Disputes Panel from 1994-2000 and a founder of the Advocates' Business Law Group.

In public law work Neil argued many of the human rights cases from Scotland before the Privy Council and has considerable experience in judicial review and local government work.

Terms of Reference

The Davidson Review was commissioned by the Government in November 2005 to support the productivity of the UK economy by ensuring that European legislation has not been implemented in a way that results in unnecessary regulatory burdens. The Review supports the work of government departments to reduce the regulatory burdens for which they are responsible by:

  1. Reviewing selected areas of EU-derived legislation for evidence of over-implementation in the UK, or smarter implementation by other Member States.
  2. Scrutinising departments' efforts to identify instances of over-implementation in their simplification plans and where possible, propose further simplification measures for them to include in their plans.