• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Examine the extent to which membership of the European Union has affected the sovereignty of Parliament, and how does the European Court of Justice seek to enforce its powers?

Extracts from this document...


2(b) Examine the extent to which membership of the European Union has affected the sovereignty of Parliament, and how does the European Court of Justice seek to enforce its powers? This essay will examine how Parliament's sovereignty has been affected by the UK's membership of the European Union, taking into account the action and powers of the European Court of Justice. The best definition of parliamentary sovereignty in this context is 'legislative supremacy within the United Kingdom'. To be sovereign in the UK, therefore, Parliament must be supreme to all other institutions affecting UK law. No organisation apart from Parliament can be able to challenge or reverse a law passed by Parliament. The very existence and power of the European Union has brought parliamentary sovereignty into question, now that we are a committed member, since EU law appears to override UK law in a point of conflict. This essay will later examine the examples of Factortame in the UK and Van Gend en Loos in the Netherlands to illustrate this point. ...read more.


The case of Van Gend en Loos established the supremacy of EU law over national law. Any disputes over the meaning of EU law must be brought before the European Court of Justice, which exists to assist with the interpretation and application of EU law. It must be noted that the ECJ cannot decide the outcome of cases that are brought before it, it can only assist with the interpretation of the law. The European Court of Justice also has powers to take action against member states whose laws are not compatible with EU legislation or who fail to realise EU Directives. The European Court of Justice consists of 27 judges representing member states and is presided over by a President. Eight Advocates General are also present to advise the judges on particular cases in the ECJ. The Court may sit as a Grand Chamber (13 judges) in complex cases, or it can take place in chambers of three or five Judges. ...read more.


Although it may seem restrictive on our freedom as a country, membership of the European Union creates a legal obligation to consider the policies of neighbouring countries when creating and implementing UK laws. Furthermore, the EU has introduced important laws that have benefited many in the United Kingdom, such as the protection of worker's rights in the Working Time Directive whereby most employees should not have to work over 48 hours a week unless they choose to by written consent. Nevertheless, many people (often calling themselves 'eurosceptics') resent being subject to the laws of 'foreigners' and complain that the power of Parliament to determine British law has been restricted. People such as these must remember that a large number of MEPs are in fact British and therefore it is not foreigners who choose EU legislation but democratically elected representatives of Britain. We as citizens of the United Kingdom therefore have an important say in EU law as well as our own Acts of Parliament, whether or not they are implemented directly through the House of Commons. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level European Union section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level European Union essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    "'A troublesome partner.' Using examples, to what extent would you say this comment accurately ...

    4 star(s)

    This meeting laid the basis for the European Special Council, European Deliberative Assembly, a European Human Rights Charter and the European Court of Justice. It took a long time for Britain to be accepted within the European Union that was founded in 1957 by the Treaty of Rome.

  2. Marked by a teacher

    The European Union and UK Businesses

    3 star(s)

    For the more pro-Europe point of view, the Treaty was not a step courageous enough towards political Union. Community competences in spheres as common foreign and security policy (CFSP) or police and judicial cooperation were not enhanced. No advance was done to work out the so known democratic deficit of the Union.

  1. Marked by a teacher

    To what extent has the European Union been successful in "establishing" a coherent European ...

    In this aspect, to make everywhere "the same" does not only mean no borders, every member state should be brought into line on the social welfare. Education is another significant impact on European identity. Nowadays the high level of education in any member state is available to any European resident.

  2. The concept of Parliamentary sovereignty means Parliament is the supreme legal authority in the ...

    The European Commission consists of 20 members chosen from various countries to work as civil servants who serve the community. It proposes EU policies and presents draft legislation to the Council. The European Parliament is made up of elected representatives from constituencies across the European Union for a fixed five-year

  1. The Institution of the European Union and Theories.

    Single market attracts inward investment from overseas and non EU countries. Trade rises which increases variety of products available, allows countries to specialise in certain products which they are good at making. The aim of the EU was to bring down barriers so firms from different countries can benefit from large consumer markets.

  2. What is the future for European Union?

    However, this does not mean there will be economic equality. An example of this can be shown by the data on GDP in table 1. We can see from table 1 that Greece and Portugal only has a third of income in terms of GDP per capita compared to some of the richest member like Luxembourg.

  1. Will examine the effects membership of the European Union or EU has had on ...

    The EU has had a significant effect on this, as now the UK cannot pass any legislation that could, in future, contravene EU law; 3. The Courts cannot question an Act of Parliament. An example of this can be seen in the well-documented Factortame case of 1991:- In this case EU law directly overruled UK law.

  2. How important is the European Parliament?

    Therefore, we can see that although the EP has the opportunity to make significant changes in legislation, the Council can merely ignore the legislation, and the EP has no opportunity to exercise what would otherwise be a considerable power. The EP is imbued with increased powers of scrutinising the Commission and to some extent the Council of Ministers.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work