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

UK in the EU

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

There have been many changes that have occurred within the British constitution and political system as a result of British membership of the European Union. Here we will look at some of the most important and influential changes. While some are obvious, there are other, less clear, changes that have occurred as a result of the changing political face of Europe. We have to first look at what defines the British constitution, then discover what has changed. A constitution is a basic set of rules and laws that establish the legitimate power held by various institutions in a country and what they are, and are not, allowed to do. The British constitution is not a single codified document, but rather a largely unwritten one made up of many different components. These include; Acts of Parliament, which are also known as 'statute law' (that is, written, legal laws), common law, also known as traditional law. These are when earlier decisions have set "precedents," which are used in future cases of a similar nature. Treaties, various agreements signed between 2 or more countries, judicial reviews, where a court reviews the actions of an official person or body to see if their actions have been legal, and royal prerogative which is the (technical) right of the monarch to make decisions affecting parliament, though this is rarely used, except in largely ceremonial matters. ...read more.

Middle

The European Court of Justice (ECJ), based in Luxemburg, provides a platform for challenging the decisions of the British courts. This is not only the case in Britain but in all countries in the European Union. The name given to the collections of laws created by the European Community is known as "acquis communautaire", and includes all treaties, rules and directives passed by the European Court of Justice. These laws them become transferred wholesale to new member states joining the EC. This, of course, just creates a whole new level of bureaucracy and difficulties to legal proceedings, (Maastricht and Beyond, Building the European Union). A famous example of this was the 'Factortame' case. This involved a Spanish boat, whose owners claimed that the Merchant Shipping Act (1988), a British law, did not apply to them as it was contrary to European law. The case went all the way to the House of Lords who agreed that the EU law should take priority. This was a very important moment in British politics as, not only had it shown that British laws were secondary to European laws, but that even acts of Parliament could be declared illegal. When the ECJ adopted the 'European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights' this convention therefore became part of the British legal system, with no regard for the wishes of the British legal system, and without going through the regular parliamentary procedures needed to pass a law in the UK. ...read more.

Conclusion

if help was needed. (The Political System of the European Union) This was acceptable to Britain as they already had strong links with NATO and especially America. The 'Social chapter' on welfare and the regulations of working hours, was an important part of the Maastricht Treaty and was written with the intention of "promoting social progress and a high level of employment", the promotion of better working conditions, equal pay and the free movement of workers between member countries (The Political System of the European Union). However, Britain (and Denmark) refused to accept it and the rules in it regarding minimal working conditions. (The New British Politics). The social chapter was later partially accepted by the Labour party when they came into power, when they accepted such things as a basic, minimum wage. However they still refused to accept such things as limiting how many hours a week a person was allowed to (or to be made to) work. As we have seen, the ties that bind Britain to the rest of Europe and strong ad far reaching. It would not be possible to discuss the political situation in Britain without discussions of Europe There is still debate about whether Britain should retain some independence, especially in economic, defence and foreign matters, or whether we should be working even more closely with Europe in an attempt to create a stronger, more unified community. Either decision would have an impact on the concept of Parliamentary sovereignty which has prevailed for so long in Britain. ...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. The European Commission - transforming the framework of the EU set up by the ...

    This has never happened, but in 1999, after an independent report made for the parliament, the commission al resigned, instead of facing a motion to censure, which would have forced them to resign anyway. The European Court of Justice The European court of Justice is the Judicial arm of the E.U.

  2. A clear explanation of key underpinning economic theories relevant to the EU.

    There are several treaties which can be classified as either political or commercials agreements. Brussels Treaty The treaty was signed in 1948 by France, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and the UK. The main purpose of the treaty was to prevent further conflict between countries after the Second World War, European integration would be used to prevent this.

  1. What does citizenship mean in the European context?

    Citizenship of the Union is hereby established. Every person holding the nationality of a Member State shall be a citizen of the Union [...] As mentioned, the introduction of citizenship to the conceptual world of the Union could be seen as just another step in the drive towards a Statal, unity vision of Europe, especially if citizenship is understood as being premised on statehood.

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

    According to the court, every member state that joined the Community has transferred legislative sovereignty to the Community. In a situation where any adverse finding by the Court that UK law is inconsistent with the agreed Treaties, it automatically annuls the law, since the European Communities Act provides that European Union law is supreme in the United Kingdom.

  1. This essay is intended to have an in-depth appraisal of the implication of the ...

    be once this idea comes into practice and the likelihood of conflict and struggle for power between the two executive. III. The European Parliament (EP) The EP have been recognised as the people's eye in the EU and subsequently granted more roles in the Union through the partaking in the

  2. The Institution of the European Union and Theories.

    customers who aren't being satisfied with what's available *Opportunities can be recognised and production to meet demand resulting in profits *Access to highly skilled people- Boots can recruit many different people with different skills form different backgrounds. Resulting in a multi skilled and flexible workforce *Additional locations- Boots has the

  1. Free essay

    Labour and Conservative parties policies on the EU have become increasingly similar. Discuss. discuss

    away form the people, resulting in decisions being made for the state as a whole not individual countries. A second point which suggests that the two parties have similar policies regarding the EU is that both parties are willing to both reject and accept policies that are in the best interest of the country.

  2. Free essay

    Finnish Party System

    The role of the district organizations is to join together the local organizations and the central leadership of the party. Above the districts there are the central party organs, the highest of which is the party convention. The conventions of the National Coalition and Center Party meet every two years while the SDP convention meets every three years.

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