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English Legal System

English Legal System (4th edn)

Steve Wilson, Helen Rutherford, Tony Storey, Natalie Wortley, and Birju Kotecha
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date: 27 January 2023

p. 2096. The law and institutions of the European Union (EU)locked

p. 2096. The law and institutions of the European Union (EU)locked

  • Steve Wilson, Steve WilsonFormer Principal Lecturer, Northumbria University, Newcastle
  • Helen Rutherford, Helen RutherfordSenior Lecturer, Northumbria University, Newcastle
  • Tony Storey, Tony StoreySenior Lecturer, Northumbria University, Newcastle
  • Natalie WortleyNatalie WortleyAssociate Professor, Northumbria University, Newcastle
  •  and Birju KotechaBirju KotechaSenior Lecturer, Northumbria University, Newcastle


The UK is a former member state of the European Union (EU). The EU is administered by several supranational institutions including: the European Council, the Council of the European Union, the European Commission, the European Parliament, and the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). The main sources of EU law are primary legislation, i.e. the treaties; secondary legislation, including regulations and directives; and the case law of the CJEU. Where EU law and national law conflict, EU law is supreme. EU law may have direct effect, i.e. be enforceable by individuals before national courts, or indirect effect, where national courts are obliged to interpret national legislation and case law, so far as possible to conform with a relevant directive. State liability for breaches of EU law means that member states are obliged to compensate individuals for consequent loss or damage. The Withdrawal Act 2018 includes the key provisions for EU law in the UK post-Brexit.

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