8.1.1 The European Union - Introduction


Welcome to the eighth topic in this module guide – The European Union! The European Union is an important aspect of Public Law due to the UK’s current membership. As such, understanding its institutions, sources of law are pivotal to aspects of parliamentary sovereignty as well how UK law interacts. With Brexit on the horizon, it may seem that EU law’s involvement with Public Law is waning; however, in leaving the EU a number of questions have been raised and answered as to sovereignty and supremacy, thus marking it as still an important area to be aware of.

The section begins by outlining the various institutions of the EU including the European Council and The Commission. Their structures and hierarchies are clearly laid out and their functions are discussed in light of the law that enables them. Following on from this, the different sources of EU law are discussed as well as how they are enacted and interpreted by member states. Next, EU law is considered alongside British Constitutional Law taking into account the pending Brexit and the legal ramifications of this. Finally, the European Union Act 2011 and the Lisbon treaty are related, before the logistics of Brexit are given some consideration.

Goals for this section:

  • To understand the EU’s relationship with UK public law
  • To be able to define and understand the law and institutions of the EU
  • To be able to apply the law discussed in this section.

Objectives for this section:

  • To understand the pillars of the EU
  • To understand the functions and remits of the different EU institutions
  • To understand the different sources of EU law and how they apply to member states
  • To understand how the key case law in this section interacts with UK law
  • To understand how British constitutional law and EU law interact
  • To understand the impacts of Brexit as well as the logistics for it to occur

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