The United Kingdom and the supremacy of European law

The supremacy of European law poses a problem for the United Kingdom, a state with a long tradition of parliamentary sovereignty.

Read about parliamentary sovereignty in the UK

  • Notice the developments that are said to have affected parliamentary sovereignty?
  • Why does it say that these issues (including membership of the EU) do not ultimately affect the principle of parliamentary sovereignty?

 The 1972 European Communities Act

The 1972 European Communities Act created a provision into UK law for the adoption of European law. By means of the European Communities Act all treaties deriving from the EU became UK law enforceable in the UK courts. The UK could repeal this law at any point (meaning it retains parliamentary sovereignty) but it is in practice unlikely to do so.

Full text of the act can be found on the Office of Public Information website or you may like to download a PDF of the European Communities Act 1972 document.