Brexit remin­der: CE and UKCA marks; wha­t’s valid when?

The issue of Brexit is undoub­ted­ly some­what com­plex, one con­se­quence of which has been crea­ting uncer­tain­ty among eco­no­mic ope­ra­tors. With the tran­si­ti­on peri­od coming to an end on 1 Janu­ary 2021, and with the recent con­clu­si­on of the Trade and Coöpe­ra­ti­on Agree­ment of 24 Decem­ber 2020 (PDF), we will now exami­ne some of the future regu­la­ti­ons gover­ning CE/UKCA marks, as well as rele­vant dates ari­sing from UK legis­la­ti­on con­cer­ning with­dra­wal from the EU.

In addi­ti­on to the “Euro­pean Uni­on (With­dra­wal) Act” of 2018 and 2020, the rele­vant sta­tu­tes are, abo­ve all, the “Pro­duct Safe­ty and Metro­lo­gy etc. (Amend­ment etc.) (EU Exit) Regu­la­ti­ons” of 2019 and 2020.

We should begin by poin­ting out that, in gene­ral, direct­ly appli­ca­ble EU legis­la­ti­on is to be imple­men­ted into natio­nal law and natio­nal legis­la­ti­on based on EU law is to remain in effect as amen­ded “imme­dia­te­ly befo­re exit day” (cf. the sec­tion on “Reten­ti­on of exis­ting EU law” in the Euro­pean Uni­on (With­dra­wal) Act 2018). The “EU Exit Web Archi­ve” was crea­ted in order to pre­ser­ve the rele­vant sta­tus of each statute.

Pro­duct Safe­ty and Metro­lo­gy etc. (Amend­ment etc.) (EU Exit) Regu­la­ti­ons 2019

Sche­du­le 12 rela­tes e.g. to amend­ments to the “Sup­p­ly of Machi­nery (Safe­ty) Regu­la­ti­ons” 2008 and Para­graph 9 of this Sche­du­le intro­du­ces a new clau­se, Regu­la­ti­on 12A, Para­graph 1 of which makes refe­rence to the EU Machi­nery Direc­ti­ve, Direc­ti­ve 2006/42/EC.

In accordance with Regu­la­ti­on 12A(3), machi­nery which meets the EU requi­re­ments in accordance with Regu­la­ti­on 12A(2) is to be trea­ted as mee­ting the UK requi­re­ments in effect at the time.

But an excep­ti­on to this rule appli­es, in accordance with Regu­la­ti­on 12A(2) in con­junc­tion with Regu­la­ti­on 12A(6), for machi­nery lis­ted in Annex IV to the EU Machi­nery Direc­ti­ve for which no “desi­gna­ted stan­dards” exist cor­re­spon­ding to the rele­vant EU har­mo­ni­zed stan­dards. In short, this cate­go­ry is com­pri­sed of machi­nery which is curr­ent­ly sub­ject to the EU type exami­na­ti­on pro­ce­du­re and the­r­e­fo­re requi­res the invol­vement of a “noti­fied body” in the con­for­mi­ty assess­ment pro­ce­du­re. In accordance with Regu­la­ti­on 12A(7), howe­ver, this machi­nery is to be trea­ted as spe­ci­fied in Regu­la­ti­on 12A(2) once the EU type exami­na­ti­on is concluded.

The natio­nal requi­re­ments in the UK app­ly for all other machi­nery. This means, in par­ti­cu­lar, that the UKCA mark must be affi­xed, a UK decla­ra­ti­on of con­for­mi­ty must be issued and, if neces­sa­ry, a UK type exami­na­ti­on must be con­duc­ted. Also see Sche­du­le 12, begin­ning with Para­graph 6, in which Regu­la­ti­on 7 and sub­se­quent Regu­la­ti­ons of the “Sup­p­ly of Machi­nery (Safe­ty) Regu­la­ti­ons” 2008 are amen­ded accordingly.

Pro­duct Safe­ty and Metro­lo­gy etc. (Amend­ment etc.) (EU Exit) Regu­la­ti­ons 2020

In accordance with Sche­du­le 3 Para­graph 7(5), a new Regu­la­ti­on 12B is to be added to the “Sup­p­ly of Machi­nery (Safe­ty) Regu­la­ti­ons” 2008 pro­vi­ding that Regu­la­ti­on 12A will cea­se to have effect 12 months after “IP com­ple­ti­on day.”

In accordance with Sec­tion 39(19) of the “Euro­pean Uni­on (With­dra­wal) Act” of 2020, “IP com­ple­ti­on day” means 11 PM on 31 Decem­ber 2020, which in turn means that the afo­re­men­tio­ned Regu­la­ti­on 12A will expi­re at 11 PM on 31 Decem­ber 2021, after which all the requi­re­ments of the amen­ded “Sup­p­ly of Machi­nery (Safe­ty) Regu­la­ti­ons” will take effect.

Con­clu­si­on

Based on the abo­ve, if the pro­duct is cover­ed by a rele­vant sta­tu­te, the fol­lo­wing gene­ral sys­tem will be adhe­red to: for the peri­od bet­ween 1 Janu­ary 2021 and 31 Decem­ber 2021, the CE mark may con­ti­nue to be used in the UK if

  • the­re is no need for a noti­fied body to be invol­ved in the con­for­mi­ty assess­ment pro­ce­du­re or
  • the con­for­mi­ty assess­ment pro­ce­du­re pre­scri­bes the invol­vement of a noti­fied body and a EU-notified body is used for the procedure.

Howe­ver, if the invol­vement of a noti­fied body is neces­sa­ry in the con­for­mi­ty assess­ment pro­ce­du­re and a UK-notified body is used for this pur­po­se, a UKCA mark gene­ral­ly has to be used as of 1 Janu­ary 2021. This is also the case if the rele­vant legis­la­ti­on is amen­ded after 1 Janu­ary 2021, resul­ting in sub­stan­ti­ve devia­ti­ons bet­ween the requi­re­ments in the EU and the UK.

Use of the UKCA mark will be man­da­to­ry in the UK after 31 Decem­ber 2021: from that point on, CE marks will no lon­ger have any rele­van­ce in the UK. UKCA marks may be used in the UK as of 1 Janu­ary 2021, alt­hough the­se marks are not reco­gni­zed in the EU.

We would also point out that spe­cial regu­la­ti­ons app­ly with regard to Nor­t­hern Ire­land, but the­se regu­la­ti­ons will not be exami­ned at this point.

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