12 October, 2006

Essay Question Model Answer

Filed under: european law,homework — legaleasy @ 9:01 pm

Today we looked at an essay question previously answered on comparing and contrasting the roles of the Commission and the Council of Ministers. We looked at a “model answer” and redrafted our essays taking into account the model answer and our individual targets. Please complete this re-draft for Tuesday 17th October 2006.

The redraft of the delegated legislation essay is due on 19th October 2006.


21 September, 2006

European Legislation – 21/09/06

Filed under: european law,homework — legaleasy @ 12:31 pm

We looked at the sources of European Law and how these are either primary or secondary. Treaties are examples of primary legislation. Regulations, directives, and decisions are secondary sources of information. Treaties have direct effect and do not need further implementation. Regulations also do not require further implementation and are also directly applicable. We discussed the concept of vertical and horizontal direct effect. Vertical direct effect is the obligation to the state to give effect to that provision so an individual employed by the state may still enforce it, e.g Marshall. In comparison the same directive was not enforceable against a private company eg Duke v GEC. Horizontal direct effect means that the principle of EU law is enforceable by on person against another.

We looked briefly at the problems that arise when there is a conflict between EU law and domestic law. EU is supreme.

Homework was set for Tuesday 26th September 2006 to research cases that demonstrate important principles of EU Law. Sum up the facts of each case and outline what it tells us – no more than one paragraph per case. No downloading vast amounts of information from the internet either please!

19 September, 2006

The European Parliament – 19/09/06

Filed under: european law — legaleasy @ 12:04 pm

We continued looking at the role of the European Parliament. The UK has 78 MEPs split across 12 regions.  It sits mainly in Strasbourg and works in all of the 20 EU languages. It has no direct law making ability. It discusses the proposals of the Commission and Council and puts questions to them. It has limited power over the EU budget in areas of non necessary expenditure. The Parliament appoints and Ombudsman to investigate complaints of maladministration of the institutions. It is our direct representation in Europe, however, we are concerned it is not really the voice of the people!

We also looked at briefly two other representative bodies –  The Committee of the Regions and The Economic and Social Committee.

We then looked at the role of the European Court of Justice. It should not be confused with the European Court of Human Rights which is different altogether. The ECJ is comprised of 25 judges (one from each member state) supported by advocates general who prepare reasoned opinions on cases to submit to the court. The ECJ’s purpose is to ensure that Treaty Law is observed and the same across the EU. It hears three different types of cases;

  1. actions against member states for failing to honour Treaty obligations (art 226)
  2. actions against member states for exceeding their powers (art 230 and 232)
  3. references for preliminary rulings (art 234)

We discussed the differences between discretionary and mandatory referrals under art 234.

We also looked at cases where the member states have been taken to the ECJ for failure to implement EU law – Re Tachographs: The Commission v United Kingdom (1979) and Van Duyn v The Home Office (1974).

The ECJ is assisted by the Court of First Instance. The ECJ is very different from UK courts and adopts a purposive approach to interpreting legislation.

We then worked in groups to produce a poster to outline the main functions of each of the EU institutions.

 Additional Reading

14 September, 2006

The Main EU institutions – 14/09/06

Filed under: european law,Uncategorized — legaleasy @ 11:58 am

We began to look at the four main institutions of the EU: the European Council of Ministers; the European Commission; the European Parliament; and the European Court of Justice (which will be looked at in more detail in the next lesson).

The Council is attended by ministerial representatives of each Member State. Up to 4 times a year heads of state meet in special Council meetings called summits to discuss broad matters of policy.  The Council is the principal decision making body of the EU. Sensitive matters have to be agreed on unanimously otherwise decisions are taken on a qualified majority (62 out of 87 must agree).

The Commission is made up of Commissioners (at least one from every member state) who are independent of their home state and act in the Union’s best interest. The Commission proposes policy for the Council to consider. The Commission is the “guardian of the treaties” and ensures that member states are implementing EU law correctly. It can take a member state to the European Court of Justice if there has been a breach of EU law. It is responsible for the administration of the EU and the implementation of the EU’s budget.

We started to look at the European Parliament. There are 78 MEPs for the UK. They do not sit in national groups but rather in political groups. The present parliament, elected in June 2004, has 732 members from all 25 EU countries. Nearly one third of them (222) are women. The parliament can dismiss the Commission. We will continue with the role of the Parliament in the next lesson.

Additional Reading

12 September, 2006

Introduction – 12/09/06

Filed under: european law,useful links — legaleasy @ 11:50 am

We looked at recent high profile cases covering various areas of the law. We discussed the meaning of the word “law” and tried to come up with a definition. We put together a spider diagram of our thoughts. We agreed that a definition of the law could be that “Law is a set of rules that plays an important part in the creation and maintenance of social order”. We realised that custom and morality also play a part in shaping our behaviour. We talked about law and morality and when the two of them overlap e.g in the case of murder and when there is conflict between law and morality e.g The Abortion Act 1967. We learned the difference between POSITIVISTS (see Jargon Buster display in Room 98.) and the proponents of the NATURAL LAW THEORY.

We looked at the specification for AS law and the three areas we will be studying this year. We looked at the overall aims and objectives of the course. We set out class expectations and reminded ourselves that we will need to read around the subject extensively (with guidance) and that there is a lot of hard work ahead. Course is exam based only – there is no coursework. See specification

We then started Module 1 – Law Making – European Legislative Processes and Institutions. We looked at a brief timeline of the history of the EU. The European Economic Community was founded in 1957. There were six original members. The United Kingdom joined in 1973. The name “European Union” was introduced by the Treaty of Maastricht in 1993. By 1995 Union membership increased to 15. Another 10 countries joined on 1 May 2004 making the total membership 25. Two more countries (Bulgaria and Romania) are negotiating for membership in 2007.

The founding Treaty was the Treaty of Rome 1957 (The EC Treaty). This has been added to and amended by subsequent Treaties and the numbering of the Articles was altered in 1999 by the Treaty of Amsterdam. We will look at more information on the Treaties in due course.

Additional Reading

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