The United Kingdom and the 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 and the Great Repeal Bill

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.  However, following the result of the 2016 European referendum in the UK, the new government led by Theresa May triggered the procedures for the UK’s exit from the EU. Thus, the government is set to introduce the so-called Great Repeal Bill, which will automatically cancel the 1972 European Communities Act and will let the Parliament decide which parts of the EU law to keep and which to scrap. At the time of writing, it is rather unclear which elements of EU law will be maintained, as it largely depends on the future composition of the Parliament following the snap general elections in June 2017.

Click here to read more about the Great Repeal Bill.