Geo-Blocking Regulation (Revocation) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 made

April 24, 2019

The Geo-Blocking Regulation (Revocation) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 SI 2019/880 have been made under section 8(1) of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018. Their aim is to address failures of retained EU law to operate effectively and other deficiencies (in particular, under paragraph (a) of section 8(2) of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018) arising from the withdrawal of the UK from the EU.

‘Geo-blocking’ is the term used to describe traders discriminating against customers on the basis of the nationality or location of the customer, for example by automatically re-directing customers to country-specific versions of their website with different terms and conditions. The Geo-Blocking Regulation EU/2018/302 prohibits certain forms of geo-blocking. This includes mandating access to all versions of a website in the EU, non-discrimination between EU customers when distance shopping (online or otherwise), and non-discrimination in payment terms accepted.

The 2019 Regulations make amendments to legislation in the field of geo-blocking and, in particular, revoke the implementing legislation which has only been in force in the UK for a few months. Therefore UK traders will no longer be required to comply with the Geo-Blocking Regulation unless they operate in the EU. Commencement is 21 days after the 2019 Regulations were made or exit day, whichever is later.

An explanatory memorandum has also been published.