Introduction to European Union law
Introduction to European Union law

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Introduction to European Union law

8.1 Sources of law

You may already have some knowledge of the sources of law. As background to what follows on the role of the CJEU you need to recall those sources. For a lawyer whose traditions are rooted in the common law, reading these primary sources requires a different approach from that used when reading the legislation of the Westminster Parliament and devolved assemblies.

Activity 11 Sources of EU law

Timing: You should allow yourself 15 minutes to do this activity.

Using your knowledge of the sources of EU law, match the correct explanation to each source below.

Using the following two lists, match each numbered item with the correct letter.

  1. Directly applicable and directly effective

  2. Consist of fundamental principles of law common to all member states and aquis communautaire

  3. Binding in their entirety, directly applicable and directly effective

  4. Binding as to the result to be achieved – and must be implemented by member states

  5. Binding on the parties to whom they are addressed

  • a.Regulations

  • b.Treaty

  • c.General principles of EU law

  • d.Decisions

  • e.Directives

The correct answers are:
  • 1 = b
  • 2 = c
  • 3 = a
  • 4 = e
  • 5 = d

When it comes to jurisdictional scope, Regulations and Treaty Articles share common features. Upon coming into force, they both automatically become part of the national law of each member state. By contrast, Directives require implementation by the national legislature in order to become law. It is only when the national legislature fails to carry out the Directive that, in certain circumstances, it becomes part of national law.

You should note that, under Article 290 TFEU, the Commission has delegated power to make Regulations and Decisions. The Regulations made by the Commission are more akin to what is, in the UK, secondary legislation such as statutory instruments. Commission Decisions are akin to the judgments of domestic tribunals.


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